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Full text of "The works of the Rev. John Fletcher, late Vicar of Madeley [electronic resource]"

THE WORKS 



OF 



THE REV. JOHN FLETCHER, 



LATE VICAB OF MADELEY. 



VOLUME V 

CONTAINING 

THE LAST CHECK TO ANTINOMIANISM, CONCLUDED; 

A^O PART OF 

THE PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



LONDON : 
PUBLISHED BY JOHN MASON, 14, CITY-ROAD; 

AND SOLD AT 66, PATF.RN03TER-R0W. 



MDCCCXXXVII. 



ENTERED AT STATIONERS* HALL. 



London : — Printed by Jameg Nichols, 46, Hoxton-gquare. 



CONTENTS. 



L LAST CHECK TO ANTINOMIANISM. 
CONTINUED. 



Page. 
Sect. VII. St. Paul was not carnal, and sold under 

Sin. The true Meaning of Gal. v. 17, and 

Rom. vii. 14 3 

VIII. An Answer to the Arguynents hy which 
St. Paul's supposed Carnality is generally 
defended 20 

IX. St. Paul presents us with a striking 
Picture of a perfect Christian, by occasion- 
ally describing his own Spirituality 31 

X. St. John is for Christian Perfection, and 

not for a Death- Purgatory 40 

XI. Why the Privileges of' Believers tender 
the Gospel cannot be justly measured hy 
the Experience of Believers under the Law 

of Moses 50 

XII. A variety of Arguments to prove the 
Absurdity of the twin Doctri?ies of' Chris- 
tian Imperfection and a Death-Purgatory. 58 

XIII. A variety of Arguments to prove the 
Mischievousness of the Doctrine of Christian 
Imperfection 71 

XIV The Arguments answered by which the 
Imperfectionists support the Doctrine of the 

necessary Indtvelling of Sin till Death 81 

A 2 



IV CONTENTS. 

Page. 

Sect. XV. The Doctrine of Christian Perfection is 
truly evangelical. A Recapitulation of the 
Scripture Proofs whereby it is maintained. 105*^ 

XVI. The Distinction between Sins and In- 
firmities is truly scriptural. An Answer 

to Mr. Henry's grand Argument for the 
Continuance of indwelling Sin 117 

XVII. An Address to perfect Christian 
Pharisees 133 

XVIII. To prejudiced Imperfectionists 141 

XIX. To imperfect Believers^ who embrace 

the Doctrine of Christian Perfection 158 

XX. Address to Perfect Christians 205 



II. THE PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL.— PART I. 

Dedication 227 

Introduction 228 

The Author's Preface 230 

Trait I. His early Piety 233 

II. His Christian Piety 237 

III. His intimate Union with Christ by 
Faith 245 

IV His extraordinary Vocation to the holy 
Ministry, and in what that Ministry chiefly 
consists 247 

V His entire Devotion to Jesus Christ 253 

VI. His Strength and his Arms 254 

VII. His Power to bind, to loose, and to 
bless, in the Name of the Lord 257 

VIIL The Earnestness with which he began 
and continued to fill up the Duties of his 
Vocation 260 



CONTENTS. V 

Page. 
Trait IX. The Manner in which he divided his 
Time between Prayer, Preaching, and 
Thanksgiving 263 

X. The Fidelity with which he announced the 
severe Threatenings and consolatory Pro- 
mises of the Gospel 265 

XI. His profound Humility 267 

XII. The ingenuous Manner iti which he ac- 
knowledged and repaired his Errors 271 

XIII. His Detestation of Party Spirit and 
Divisions 274 

Xiy His Rejection of Praise 277 

XY His universal Love 280 

XYI. His particular Love to the Faithful. 282 

XYII. His Love to those whose Faith was 
wavering 283 

XYIII. His Love to his Countrymen and his 
Enemies 284 

XIX. His Love to those whom he knew only 

by Report 285 

XX. His Charity toward the Poor in giving 

or procuring for them temporal Relief. 287 

XXI. His Charity toward Sinners in offer- 

iiig them every spiritual Assistance 290 

XXII. The engaging Condescension of his 
humble Charity 293 

XXIII. His Courage in Defence of oppressed 
Truth 296 

XXIY His Prudence in frustrating the 
Designs of his Enemies 298 

XXY His Tenderness toward others, and 
his Severity toward himself 301 

XXYI. His Love never degenerated into 
Cowardice, but reproved and consoled as 
Occasion required 304 



VI CONTENTS. 

Page. 

Trait XXVII. Hi^ perfect Disinterestedness 309 

XXVIII. His Condescension in labouring^ 
at times, with his own Hands, that he might 
preach Industry by Example, as well as by 
Precept 311 

XXIX. The Respect he manifested for the 
holy Estate of Matrimony, while Christian 
Prudence engaged him to live in a State of 
Celibacy 314 

XXX. The Ardour of his Love 319 

XXXI. His gejierous Fears and succeeding 
Consolations 321 

XXXII. The grand Subject of his glorying, 
and the evangelical Manner in which he 
maintained his Superiority over false 
Apostles 323 

XXXIII. His Patience and Fortitude under 

the severest Trials 325 

XXXIV His modest Firmness before 
Magistrates 327 

XXXV His Courage in consoling his perse- 
cuted Brethren 329 

XXXVI. His humble Confidence in pro- 
ducing the Seals of his Ministry 332 

XXXVII. His Readiness to seal with his 
Blood the Truths of the Gospel 338 

XXXVIII. The sweet Suspense of his Choice 
between Life and Death 339 

XXXIX. The Constancy of his Zeal and 
Diligence to the End of his Course 340 

XL. His Triumph over the Evils of Life and 
the Terrors of Death 342 



CONTENTS. Vll 

THE PORTRAIT OF LUKEWARM MINISTERS AND FALSE 

APOSTLES. 

Page. 

Chap. I. The Portrait of hikervarm Ministers... 345 

II. The Portrait of false Apostles 349 

III. An Answer to the First Objection which 
may be made against the Portrait of St. 
Paul 356 

lY A Second Objection argued against 360 

V A Third Objection replied to 363 

VI. A Fourth Objection refuted 366 

YII. The same Subject continued 371 

VIII. A further Reply to the same Objection 374 

IX. A further Refutation of the same Ob- 
jection 379 

X. A Ffth Objection answered 382 

XI. A Reply to the Fifth and Last Objection 
which may be urged against the Portrait 

of St. Paul. 390 



III. THE PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL—PART II. 

The Doctrines of an evangelical Pastor 395 

The Evangelical Pastor preaches true Repentance 

toward God 396 

How Sin and the Necessity of Repentance entered 

into the World 398 

This Doctrine is maintained by all the Christian 

Churches 400 

Without evaniic/icdl Repentance^ a lively Faith in 
Christy or Regeneration by the Holy Spirit^ 
will appear not only unnecessary., but absurd.., 401 



VIU CONTENTS. 

Page. 
Horv the faithful Pastor leads Sinners to Repent- 
ance : 403 

Horv the Prophets^ Jesus Christy his Forerunner, 
and his Apostles, prepared Sirtners for Repent- 
ance 4 406 

Ohservatio7is upon the Repentance of worldly Men. 410 

The second important Doctrine insisted on by the 

true Minister is a living Faith 427 

The true Minister goes on to aniiounce a lively 

Hope 450 

The true Minister preaches Christian Charity 464 



THE LAST CHECK TO ANTINOMIAXISM, 
CONTINUED. 



POLEMICAL ESSAY 



ON 



THE TWIN DOCTRINES 



OF 



CHRISTIAN IMPERFECTION 



AND 



A DEATH PURGATORY 



BY THE AUTHOR OF THE CHECKS. 



" Be ye perfect. Every one that is perfect shall he as his Master. Tf 
thou wilt he perfect, go, and sell that thou hast, and give to the 
poor." — Jesus Christ. 

" If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, 
': even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is 

according to godliness, he is proud." — St. Paul. 

" Let no man deceive you," &c. : *' for this piirpose the Son of God was 
manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." " The 
blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. In liim is no sin. 
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the 
day of judgment ; because as he " (the vine) " is, so are we" (the 
branches) '< in this world." — St. John. 

Vol. v. b 



THE 



LAST CHECK TO ANTINOMIANISM, 
CONTINUED. 



SECTION YII. 

It is easier to raise a dust than to answer an argu- 
ment : I expect, therefore, that our opponents, instead 
of solidly answering the contents of the preceding section, 
will assert, that St. Paul was an avowed enemy to deli- 
verance from lust and evil tempers hefore death, and, of 
consequence, a strong opposer of the doctrine of Christian 
perfection. And to support their assertion, they will 
probably quote the following text : " The flesh lusteth 
against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, so that 
ye cannot do the things that ye would." Gal. v. 17- For, 
they conclude from these words, that so long as we dwell 
in bodies of corruptible flesh, we cannot help breaking the 
law of liberty, at least, from time to time, by sinful inter- 
nal lusts. As this objection passes among them for 
unanswerable, it may not be amiss to give it a fourfold 
answer. 

1. St. Paul wrote these words to the carnal, fallen 
Galatians : to them he said, " So that ye cannot do the 
things that ye would." And there was a good reason a\ Iiy 
they could not do what they had a weak desire to do. 
They were "bewitched" by the flesh, and by carnal teachers, 
who led them from the power of the Spirit to the weak- 
ness of the letter, yea, to the letter of Judaism too. But 
did he not speak of himself to the Philippians in a very 
diff'erent strain ? Did he not declare, " I can do all 
things through Christ, Avho strengtheneth me ? " And 

B 2 



4 LAST CHECK 

cannot every believer, who steadily walks in the Spirit, 
say the same thing ? Who does not see the flaw of this 
argument ? The disobedient, fallen, bewitched believers 
of Galatia, of whom St. Paul stood in doubt, could not 
but fulfil the lusts of the flesh, when they were led by the 
flesh. " Neither hot nor cold," like the Laodiceans, they 
could neither be perfect Christians, nor perfect worldlings, 
because they fully sided neither with the Spirit, nor with the 
flesh ; or, to use the apostle's words, " they could not do 
the things that they would," through the opposition which 
the flesh made against the Spirit, and the Spirit against 
the flesh, neither of these principles being yet fully vic- 
torious in their halting, distracted hearts. Therefore, 
this must be also the miserable case of all obedient, faith- 
ful, established believers through all ages all the world 
over. What has this antinomian conclusion to do wdth 
the scriptural premises ? When I assert, that all those 
who have put out their knees cannot run a race swiftly, 
do I so much as intimate, that no man can be a swift 
racer ? 

2. It is as unscriptural to judge of the power and 
lifeerty of established believers by the power and liberty of 
the Galatians, as it is unreasonable to judge of the liberty 
of a free nation by the servitude of a half-enslaved people ; 
or of the strength of a vigorous child, by the weakness of 
an half-formed embryo. I found this remark, (1.) Upon 
Gal. V. 1, where the apostle indirectly reproves his Juda- 
izing, wrangling converts, for being fallen from " the 
liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free," and for 
being " entangled again with the yoke of bondage." And 
(2.) Upon Gal. iv. 19: "My little children, of whom I 
travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you." The 
dawn of day is not more difi"erent from the meridian light, 
than the imperfect state described in this verse is different 
from the perfect state described in the following lines, 
which are descriptive of the adult Christian : — " I am cru- 
cified with Christ : nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but 
Christ liveth in me : and the life which I now live 
in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God." 
Gal. ii. 20. 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 5 



O 



3. The sense whicli is commonly fixed upon tlie text 
produced by our opponents is entirely overturned by the 
context : read the preceding verse, and you will find a 
glorious, though conditional, promise of the liberty which 
we plead fijr : " This I say, Walk in the Spirit, and ye 
shall not fulfil the " sinful " lust of the flesh ; " that is, far 
from harbouring either outward or inward sin, ye shall, 
with myself and as many as are perfect, steadily keep 
your " body under," and be in every thing " spiritually- 
minded," which " is life and peace." 

4. "We should properly distinguish between the lawful 
and the sinful lusts or desires of the flesh. To desire to 
eat, to drink, to sleep, to marry, to rest, to shun pain at 
proper times and in a proper manner, is no sin : such 
lusts or desires are not contrary to the law of liberty. 
Our Lord himself properly indulged most of these harm- 
less propensities of the flesh, without ceasing to be the 
immaculate Lamb of God. Hence it is, that our church 
requires us, in our baptism, to renounce only " the sinful 
lusts of the flesh," giving us a tacit leave lawfully to 
indulge its lawful appetites. I should be glad, for exam- 
ple, to recruit my strength by one hour's sleep, or by an 
ounce of food, as w^ell as by a good night's rest, or a good 
meal ; but the flesh harmlessly lusteth against the spirit, 
so that in these, and in a thousand such instances, " I 
cannot do the things that I would." But do I commit 
sin when I use my body according to its nature ? Na}-, 
if I were as strongly solicited unlawfully to indulge the 
lawful appetites of my flesh, as Christ was to turn stones 
into bread, Avhen he felt keen hunger in the wilderness', 
and if I as strongly resisted the temptation, would not 
such a temptation increase the glory of my victory, rather 
than the number of my sins ? Is it right in our oppo- 
n^ts to avail themselves of the vague, unfixed meaning 
of the words " flesh " and " lust," to make the simple 
believe, that so long as we have human flesh about us, 
and bodily lusts or appetites within us, our hearts must 
necessarily remain pregnant with sinful lusts, and wl- 
shall " have innumerable lusts," as says an imperfoctionist, 
whom I shall soon mention, "swarming about our 



6 LASr CHECK 

heart ? " Does not this doctrine put a worm at the 
root of Christian Jibertj, while it nourishes antinomian 
freedom, — a freedom to sin, even to adultery and 
murder, without ceasing to be sinless and perfect in 
Christ ? 

5. Two lines after St. Paul's supposed plea for the 
necessary continuance of indwelling sin in believers, the 
apostle begins a long enumeration of the " works of the 
flesh, of the which," says he, " I tell you before, as I have 
also told you in time past, that they" (the fallen believers) 
" who do such things," or admit in their hearts such lusts 
as "hatred, variance, strife, or envyings," "shall not inherit 
the kingdom of God:" whereas "they that are Christ's" 
(they that " are led by the Spirit of God ;" for, in Paul's 
account, only such are Christ's, that is, properly belong 
to Christ's spiritual dispensation : see Rom. viii. 9, 14) 
" have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts." 
Gal. V. 24. Now, these spiritual believers " can do all 
things through Christ; and, accordingly, the apostle ob- 
serves, that, far from bearing the fruit of the flesh, they 
bear " the frait of the Spirit," which " is love, joy, peace, 
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, 
temperance," — the whole cluster of inherent graces which 
makes up Christian perfection. And then he observes, 
that " the law is not against such," because they fulfil it ; 
" for all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, 
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." See Gal. v. 
14—23. 

6. The sense which the imperfectionists give to Gal. 
V. 17 is not only flatly contrary to the rest of the chaptei-, 
but to the end and design of all the epistle. What the 
apostle has chiefly in view, through the whole, is to 
reprove the Galatians for their carnality, in following 
Judaizing teachers, and in bearing the fruits of the flesh, 
— " envy, variance," &c., insomuch that they were ready 
to " bite and devour one another." Now, if when he had 
sharply reproved them, as persons who " ended in the 
flesh," after having " begun in the Spirit," he had written 
Gal. V. 17 in the sense of our opponents, he would fairly 
have excused these bewitched men, absolutely defeated 



TO ANTIXOMIANIS:.r. 7 

his reproof, and absurdly furnished them with an excel- 
lent plea to continue in their bad course of life. For, if 
they could not " fulfil the law of Christ," but must remain 
carnal and sold under indwelling sin, had they not a right 
to answer the apostle thus ? — " If neither we, whom thou 
callest ' bewitched Galatians,' nor any spiritual believer, 
can possibly do the things that Ave should and would do, 
because the flesh sinfully and unavoidably lusteth against 
the Spirit, why dost thou blame us for our carnality ? 
Why dost thou take us to task, rather than other be- 
lievers ? Are we not all bound by adamantine chains of 
carnal necessity to break the law of Christ, so long as we 
are in the body? Art thou not the very man who 
givest us to understand, that 'we cannot do what we' 
should and ' would ' do, because ' the flesh,' which Ave 
cannot possibly part with before death, ' lusteth against 
the Spirit ? ' And is not absolute necessity the best 
excuse in the world ? " 

7. Should Mr. Hill ask, "What is then the genuine 
meaning of Gal. v. 17?" we reply, that Avhen Ave consider 
that verse in the light of the context, we do not doubt 
but the sense of it is fairly expressed in the folloAving 
lines : " The flesh and the Spirit are two contrary prin- 
ciples. ' They that are in,' or ' Avalk after, the flesh can- 
not please God.' And ye are undoubtedly in the flesh, 
and walk after the flesh, while ' ye bite and devour one 
another. This I say, then, Walk in the Spirit ; be led by 
the Spirit; and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh,' as ye 
now do. ' For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and 
prevails in all carnal people ; ' and the Spirit lusteth 
against the flesh,' and prevails in all spiritual people ; 
'and these tAvo,' far from nestling together, as antino- 
mian teachers make you believe, 'are contrary to each 
other.' They are irreconcilable enemies ; so that, as 
obedient, spiritual believers, while they are led by the 
Spirit, cannot do what they would do if they Avere led 
by the flesh ; ye bewitched, carnal, disobedient (ialatians, 
Avho are led by the flesh, cannot do Avhat ye A\f)uld do 
if ye were led by the Spirit, and Avhat ye have still souk; 
desire to do, so far as ye have not yet absolutely quenched 



8 LAST CHECK 

the Spirit. Would ye then return to your liberty, return 
to your duty ; change your guide, forsake the carnal 
mind, let 'Christ; be formed in you, be led by the 
Spirit;' so shall ye 'fulfil the law of Christ,' and it shall 
no more condemn you, than the law of Moses binds you. 
For 'if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under' the 
curse of ' the law ; ye are equally free from the bondage 
of the Mosaic law, and from the condemnation of the law 
of Christ." Gal. V. 16. 

8. Should Mr. Hill say, that by " the flesh" he under- 
stands not only " the body," but also the " natural desires, 
appetites, and arersions," which are necessarily excited in 
the soul, in consequence of its intimate union with the 
body; and that "the body of sin" must needs live and die 
with the body which our spirit inhabits ; because, so long 
as we continue in the body, we are unavoidably tried by 
a variety of situations, passions, inclinations, aversions, 
and infirmities, which burden us, hinder us from doing 
and suficring all we could wish to do and to sufier, and 
occasion our doing or feeling what we should be glad in 
some respects not to do or feel : — 

* I answer. It is excessively wrong to conclude, that all 
these burdens, infirmities, appetites, passions, and aver- 
sions, are those sinful workings of our corrupt nature, 
which are sometimes called "the flesh." You cannot con- 
tinue a whole day in deep prostration of body and soul, 
nor perhaps one hour upon your knees ; your stomach 
involuntarily rises at the sight of some food which some 
persons esteem delicious ; your strength fails in outward 
works ; your spirits are exhausted ; you faint or sleep, 
when others are active and toil ; you need the spiritual 
and bodily cordials which others can administer ; perhaps 
also you are afflicted with disagreeable sensations in the 
outward man, through the natural necessary play of the 
various springs which belong to flesh and blood ; your 
just grief vents itself in tears ; your zeal for God is 
attended with a proper anger at sin ; nay, misapplying 
what the apostle says of the carnal man under the law, 
you may declare with great truth, " The" extensive " good 
I would, I do not ; and the" accidental " evil I would 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 9 

not, tliat I do :" I would convert every sinner, relieve 
every distressed object, and daily visit every sick bed in 
the kingdom; but I cannot do it. I would never try the 
patience of my friends, never stir up the envy of my 
rivals, never excite the malice of my enemies ; but I 
cannot help doing this undesigned evil as often as I 
strongly exert myself in the discharge of my duty. 

If you say, " All these things, or most of them, are 
quite inconsistent with the perfection you contend for," 
I ask, Upon this footing, was not our Lord himself imper- 
fect ? Did his bodily strength never fail in agonizing 
prayer, or in intense labour ? Did his animal spirits ever 
move with the same sprightliness ? Do we not read of 
his sleeping in the ship when his disciples wrestled with 
a tempestuous sea ? Did he not fulfil the precept, "Be 
ye angry, and sin not?" Had he not the troublesome 
sensations of grief at Lazarus's grave ? of hunger, in the 
wilderness ? of weariness, at Jacob's well ? and of thirst, 
upon the cross ? If he Avas " made in the likeness of sin- 
ful flesh," and " tempted in all things as we are," is it not 
highly probable that he was not an utter stranger to the 
other natural appetites and uneasy sensations wliich are 
incident to flesh and blood ? Is it a sin to feel them ? Is it 
not rather a virtue totally to deny them ? or not to gratify 
them out of the line of duty ? or not to indulge them in an 
excessive manner on that line? Again : did not liis holv 
flesh testify a natural, innocent abhorrence to suff'ering ■ 
Did not his sacred body faint in the garden ? Were not 
his spirits so depressed that he stood in need of the 
strengthening assistance of an angel? Did he do all thi' 
good he would ? To suppose that he wished not tlu; 
conversion of his friends and brethren, is to suppose liiiii 
totally devoid of natural aff'ection : but were they all con- 
verted ? Did you never read, " Neither did his bretliren 
believe in him." " And his friends went out to lay hold 
on him; for they said. He is beside himself?" To con- 
clude : did he not accidentally stir up the evil he would 
not when he gave occasion to the envy of the pharisees;, 
the scorn of Herod, the fears of Pilate, the rage of the 
Jewish mob ? And when he prayed that the bitter cup 



b5 



10 LAST CHECK 

might pass from him, if it were possible, did he not mani- 
fest a resigned desyre to escape pain and shame ? If every 
such desire is indwelling sin, or the flesh sinfully lusting 
against the spirit, did he not go through the sinful conflict 
as well as those whom we call " perfect men " in Christ ? 
and, consequently, did he not fall at once from mediatorial, 
Adamic, and Christian perfection ; indwelling sin being 
equally inconsistent with all these perfections ? What true 
believer does not shudder at the bare supposition ? And if 
our sinless Lord felt the weakness of the flesh harmlessly 
lusting against the willingness of the spirit, according to 
his own doctrine, " The spirit indeed is willing, but the 
flesh is weak," is it not evident that the conflict we speak 
of; — if the spirit maintains its superior, victorious lusting 
against the flesh, and by that means steadily keeps the 
flesh in its proper place ; — is it not evident, I say, that this 
conflict is no more inconsistent with Christian perfection, 
than suffering, agonizing, fainting, crying, and dying, 
which were the lat of our sinless, perfect Saviour to the 
last? 

If I am not greatly mistaken, the preceding remarks 
prove, 1. That when our opponents pretend to demonstrate 
the necessary indwelling of sin in all believers from Gal. v. 
17, they wretchedly tear that text from the context, to make 
it speak a language which St. Paul abhors. 2. That this 
text, fairly taken together with the context, and the design 
of the whole epistle, is a proof that obedient, spiritual 
believers can do what the bewitched Galatians could not 
do, that is, they can " crucify the flesh with all its afl'ections 
and lusts," and walk as perfect Christians, who utterly 
destroy the whole body of sin, and " fulfil the law of 
Christ." And, 3. That to produce Gal. v. against the 
doctrine of Christian perfection, is full as absurd as to 
quote the sermon upon the mount in defence of antinomian 
delusions. I have dwelt so long upon this head, because 
I have before me An Essay on Galatians v. 17,* lately 
published by an ingenious divine, who takes it for granted 

* The argiiments by wliich the doctrine of the necessary indwelling 
of sin in all believers till death is siipported in that essay will be con- 
eidered in section xiv. 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 11 

that the apostle contends, in this verse, for the necessary 
indwelling of sin. 

]Mr, Hill will probably say, that he does not rest the 
doctrine of Christian imperfection so much upon the 
experience of the fallen Galatians, as upon that of St. 
Paul himself, who, in Rom. vii., frankly acknowledges, 
that he was still a " wretched, carnal man, sold under sin, 
and serving with the flesh the law of sin." Whence it 
follows, that it is high presumption in modern believers to 
aspire at more perfection, and greater freedom from sin 
upon earth, than had been attained by St. Paul, Avho "was 
not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles, but laboured 
more abundantly than they all." To this common objec- 
tion I answer : 

1. The perfection we preach is nothing but perfect 
repentance, perfect faith, and perfect love, productive of 
the gracious tempers which St. Paul himself describes, 
1 Cor. xiii. We see those blessed tempers shining through 
his epistles, discourses, and conduct ; and I have proved in 
the preceding section, that he himself professed Christian 
perfection. This objection, therefore, appears to us an 
ungenerous attempt to make St. Paul grossly contradict 
himself. For, what can be more ungenerous than to take 
advantage of a figurative mode of expression to blast ;i 
good man's character, and to traduce him as a slave of his 
fleshly lusts, a drudge to carnality, a wretch sold under 
sin ? What would Mr, Hill think of me, if, under the 
plausible pretence of magnifying God's grace to the chief 
of sinners, and of proving that there is no deliverance 
from sin in this life, I made the following speech ? — 

" The more we grow in grace, the more clearly we see 
our sins, and the more willingly we ackno\vledge them to 
God and men. This is abundantly verified by the con- 
fessions that the most holy men have made of their Avick- 
edness. Paul himself, holy Paul, is not ashamed to humble 
himself for the sins which he committed, even after his 
conversion. ' I robbed other churclies,' says he, ' taking 
wages of them to do you service.' 2 C/or. xi. 8. Hence it 
appears, that the apostle had agreed to serve some 
churches for a proper salary ; but, being ' carnal, and sold 



12 LAST CHECK 

under sin/ he broke his word ; he fleeced, but refused to 
feed, the flocks; and, robbing the churches, he went to the 
Corinthians, perhaps to see what he could get of them 
also in the end ; for ' the heart is desperately wicked, and 
deceitful above all things.' Jer. xvii. 9. Nay, partial as 
he was to those Corinthians for whom he turned church- 
robber, he showed that his love to them was not sinless 
and free from rage : for, once he threatened to come to 
them ' with a rod;' and he gave one of them to ' Satan 
for the destruction of the flesh.' With great propriety, 
therefore, did holy Paul say to the last, ' I am the chief 
of sinners.' And now, when the chief of the apostles 
abases himself thus before God, and publicly testifies, both 
by his words and works, that there is no deliverance from 
sin, no perfection in this life, who can help being fright- 
ened at the pharisaic pride of the men who dare inculcate 
the doctrine of sinless perfection ? " 

I question if Mr. Hill himself, upon reading this unge- 
nerous and absurd, though in one sense, scriptural plea for 
St. Paul's imperfection, would not be as much out of con- 
ceit with my fictitious explanation of 2 Cor. xi., as I am 
wi^ his Calvinistic exposition of Rom. vii. Nor do I 
think it more criminal to represent the apostle as a church- 
robber, than to traduce him as a " ^vretched, carnal man, 
sold under sin ; " another Ahab, that is, a man who " did 
evil in the sight of the Lord, above all that were before 
him." 

2. St. Paul no more professes himself actually a carnal 
man in Rom. vii., than he professes himself actually a 
liar in Rom. iii. 7, where he says, " But if the truth of 
God has more abounded through my lie, why am I judged 
as a sinner ? " He no more professes himself a man actually 
sold imder sin, than St. James and his fellow-believers 
profess themselves a generation of vipers, and actual 
cursors of men, when the one wrote, and the others read 
" The tongue can no man tame ; it is full of deadly 
poison ; therewith curse we men." "When St. Paul 
reproves the partiality of some of the Corinthians to this 
or that preacher, he introduces Apollos and himself; 
though it seems that his reproof was chiefly intended for 



TO ANTTNOMIANISM. 13 

other preachers who fomented a party-spirit in the cor- 
rupted church of Corinth. And then he says, " These 
things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself 
and to Apollos, for your sakes, that ye might learn in us 
not to think of men above that which is written." 1 Cor. 
iv. 6. By the same figure he says of himself what he 
might have said of any other man, or of all mankind : 
" Though I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, 
and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass." 
Thrice in three verses he speaks of his not having charity. 
And suppose he had done it three hundred times, this 
would no more have proved, that he was really unchari- 
table, than his saying, Rom. vii., " I am sold under sin," 
proves that he " served the law of sin with his body," 
as a slave is forced to serve the master who bought 
him. 

3. It frequently happens also, that, by a figure of rhetoric 
which is called " hypotyposis," writers relate things past, or 
things to come, in the present tense, that their narration 
may be more lively, and may make a stronger impression. 
Thus, Gen. vi. 17, we read, " Behold, I, even I, do 
bring," that is, I will bring one hundred and twenty years 
hence, "a flood upon the earth, to destroy all flesh." 
Thus also, 2 Sam. xxii. 1, 35, 48, " When the Lord had 
delivered David out of the hand of all his enemies, and 
given him peace in all his borders, he spake the words of 
this song. He teacheth," that is, he taught, " my hands 
to war, so that a bow of steel is," that is, was, " broken by 
mine arms. It is God that avengeth," that is, that hath 
avenged, "me, and that bringeth," that is, has brought, 
" me forth from mine enemies." A thousand such ex- 
pressions, or this figure continued through a thousand 
verses, would never prove, before unprejudiced persons, 
that king Saul was alive, and that David was not yet deli- 
vered for good out of his bloody hands. Now, if tSt. 
Paul, by a similar figure, which he carries through part 
of a chapter, relates his past experience in the present 
tense ; if the Christian apostle, to humble himself, and to 
make his description more lively, and the opposition 
between the bondage of sin and Christian liberty more 



14 LAST CHECK 

striking ; if the apostle, I say, with such a design as this, 
appears upon the stage of instruction in his old Jewish 
dress, — a dress this, in which he could serve God day and 
night, and yet, like another Ahab, breathe threatenings 
and slaughter against God's children, — and if in this 
dress he says, " I am carnal, sold under sin," &c., is it not 
ridiculous to measure his growth, as an apostle of Christ, 
by the standard of his stature when he was a Jewish 
bigot, a fiery zealot, full of good meanings and bad per- 
formances ? 

4. To take a scripture out of the context is often like 
taking the stone that binds an arch out of its place. You 
know not what to make of it. Nay, you may put it to a 
use quite contrary to that for which it was intended. 
This our opponents do, when they so take Rom. vii. out 
of its connexion with Rom. vi. and Rom. viii., as to make 
it mean the very reverse of what the apostle designed. 
St. Paul, in Rom. v. and vi., and in the beginning of vii., 
describes the glorious liberty of the children of God 
under the Christian dispensation. And, as a skilful 
painter puts shades in his pictures to heighten the effect 
of the lights ; so the judicious apostle introduces in the 
latter part of Rom. vii. a lively description of the domi- 
neering power of sin, and of the intolerable burden of 
guilt ; — a burden this which he had so severely felt, when 
the convincing Spirit charged sin home upon his con- 
science, after he had broken his good resolutions ; but 
especially during the three days of his blindness and fast- 
ing at Damascus. Then he groaned, " O wretched man 
that I am," &c., hanging night and day between despair 
and hope, between unbelief and faith, between bondage 
and freedom, till God brought him into Christian liberty, 
by the ministry of Ananias. Of this liberty the apostle 
gives us a farther and fuller account in Rom. viii. There- 
fore, the description of the man who groans under the 
galling yoke of sin is brought in merely by contrast, to 
set off the amazing difference there is between the bond- 
age of sin, and the liberty of gospel holiness ; just as the 
generals, who entered Rome in triumph, used to make a 
show of the prince whom they had conquered. On such 



TO a>;tinomianism. Jo 

occasions, the conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, 
crowned with laurel ; while the captive king followed him 
on foot, loaded with chains, and making, next to the con- 
queror, the most striking part of the show. Now, if, in a 
Roman triumph, some of the spectators had taken the 
chained king on foot, for the victorious general in the 
chariot, because the one immediately followed the other, 
they would have been guilty of a mistake, not unlike that 
of our opponents, who take the carnal Jcav, " sold under 
sin," and groaning as he goes along, for the Christian 
believer, who " walks in the Spirit," exults in the liberty 
of God's children, and always triumphs in Christ. 

5. To see the propriety of the preceding observation, w^e 
need only take notice of the contrariety there is between 
the bondage of the carnal penitent, described in Rom. 
vii. 14, &c., and the liberty of the spiritual man, described 
in the beginning of that very chapter : the one says, 
" Who shall deliver me ? " Sin revives ; it works in him 
all manner of concupiscence ; yea, it works death in hira : 
he is " carnal, sold under sin," forced by his bad habits to 
do what he is ashamed of, and kept from doing what he 
sees his duty. " In him, that is, in his flesh, dwells no 
good thing." Sin dwelleth in him. How to ^perform 
that which is good he finds not. Though he has a desire 
to 1)6 better, yet still he does not do good : he does evil : 
"evil is present with him." His "inward man," his 
reason and conscience, approve, yea, " delight in, God's 
law," that is, in that which is right ; but still he does it 
not ; his good resolutions are no sooner made than they 
are broken ; for " another law in his members wars against 
the law of his mind," that is, his carnal appetites oppose the 
dictates of his conscience, and " bring him into captivity 
to the law of sin," so that, like a poor chained slave, he 
has just liberty enough to rattle his chains, and to say, 
" O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from 
the body of this death," from this complete assemblage of 
corruption, misery, and death ! " Is it not ridiculous to 
conclude, that, because this groaning slave has now and 
tlun a hope of deliverance, and, at times, thanks God 
through Jesus Christ for that hope, he is actually a par- 



16 LAST CHECK 

taker of tlie liberty which is thus described in the begin- 
ning of the chapter ? — " Ye are become dead to the law," 
the Mosaic dispensation, " that ye should be married to 
him who is raised from the dead, that," instead of omit- 
ting to do good, and doing evil, " we should bring forth 
fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh," in the 
state of the carnal man, sold under sin, — a sure proof 
this that the apostle was no more in that state, — " the 
motions of sin, which were by the law," abstracted from 
the gospel promise, " did work in our members to bring 
forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from 
the " curse of the moral as well as from the bondage of 
the Mosaic " law, that being dead wherein we were held ; 
that we should serve God in newness of spirit, and not in 
the oldness of the letter." Rom. vii. 4 — 6. Immediately 
after this glorious profession of liberty, the apostle, in his 
own person, by way of contrast, describes, to the end of 
the chapter, the poor, lame, sinful obedience of those who 
"serve God in the oldness of the letter;" so that nothing 
can be more unreasonable, than to take this description 
for a description of the obedience of those who " serve 
God in newness of the spirit." We have therefore, 
in Romf vii. 4 — 6, a strong rampart against the mistake 
which our opponents build on the rest of the chapter. 

6. This mistake will appear still more astonishing, if 
we read Rom. vi., where the apostle particularly describes 
the liberty of those who " serve God in newness of the 
spirit," according to the glorious privileges of the new 
covenant. Is darkness more contrary to light, than the 
preceding description of the carnal Jew is to the following 
description of the spiritual Christian ? — " How shall we, 
that are dead to sin, live any longer therein ? Our old 
man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might 
be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." 
Note : the carnal Jew, though against his conscience, still 
" serves the law of sin." Rom. vii. 25. " Now, he that is 
dead is freed from sin. Reckon ye yourselves also to be 
dead indeed unto sin. Yield yourselves unto God, as 
those that are alive from the dead." Note : the carnal 
Jew says, " Sin revived, and I died." Rom. vii. 9. But 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. I7 

the spiritual Christian is alive from the dead. " Sin shall 
not have dominion over you," now you are spiritual. You 
need not say, " I do the evil that I hate, and the evil I would 
not, that I do;" "for you are not under the law," under 
the weak dispensation of the law of Moses, "but under 
grace," under the powerful, gracious dispensation of 
Christ. " God be thanked, that," whereas " ye were the 
servants of sin," when you carnally served God " in the 
oldness of the letter," ye have obeyed from the heart the 
form of doctrine which was delivered you ; " that is, ye 
have heartily embraced the gospel of Christ, who gives 
rest to all that come to him travailing and heavy laden. 
" Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants 
of righteousness. For when ye were the servants of sin, 
ye were free from righteousness. But noAV being" — 
carnal, sold under sin, ye serve the law of sin ? Xo ; 
just the reverse — " But now being made free from sin, 
and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto 
holiness, and the end everlasting life." Rom. vi. 2 — 22. 
Is it possible to reconcile this description of Christian 
liberty, v/ith the preceding description of Jewish bondage? 
Can a man at the same time exult in the one, and groan 
under the other ? When our opponents assert it, do they 
not confound the Mosaic and the Christian dispensation ? 
the workings of the Spirit of bondage, and the workings of 
the Spirit of adoption ? And yet, astonishing ! they charge 
us with confounding law and gospel. 

7. We shall see their mistake is a still more glaring 
light, if we pass to Romans viii., and consider the 
description which St. Paul continues to give us of the 
glorious liberty of those who have done with "the oldness 
of the " Jewish " letter, and serve God in newness of 
the spirit." The poor Jew, carnally sticking in the letter, 
is condemned for all he does, if his conscience is awake. 
But "there is now no condemnation to them Avliich are 
in Christ Jesus," who are come up to the privileges of 
the Christian dispensation, " who walk not after the flesh, 
but after the Spirit. For the law of the spirit of life 
in Christ Jesus," the power of the quickening Spirit 
given me and my fellow-beUevers, under the spiritual 



18 LAST CHECK 

and perfect dispensation of Christ Jesus, " hath made me 
free from the law of sin and death. For what the law," 
the letter of the Mosaic dispensation, " could not do, in 
that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own 
Son, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness 
of the law," the spiritual obedience which the moral law 
of Moses, adopted by Christ, requires, "might be ful- 
filled in us, Avho walk not after the flesh, but after the 
Spirit, For," so far from professing, that I am " carnal 
and sold under sin," I declare, that "to be carnaliy- 
minded is death." "Well may, then, the carnal Jew groan, 
"Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" 
" But to be spiritually-minded is life and peace. So then 
they that are in the flesh," that is, carnal, sold under 
sin, " cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, 
but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell 
in you. Now, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, 
he is none of his;" he is, at best, a disciple of Moses, 
a poor carnal Jew; and remains still a stranger to the 
glorious privileges of the Christian dispensation. "But 
if Christ be in you, the body is dead," weak, and full of 
the seeds of death, " because of " original " sin ; but the 
spirit is life," strong and full of immortality, " because 
of" implanted and living "righteousness. For ye have 
not received the Spirit of bondage again to fear," like the 
poor carnal man, who, through fear and anguish, groans 
out, " O wretched man that I am ! " " But ye have 
received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we," who walk in 
newness of the Spirit, and please God, we, who have 
the Spirit of Christ, " cry, Abba, Father ; the Spirit itself 
bearing witness with our spirits, that we are the children 
of God : and if children, then heirs ; heirs of God," whom 
we please, " and joint heirs with Christ," through whom 
we please God. Rom. viii. 1 — 17' 

This glorious liberty, which God's children enjoy in 
their souls under the perfection of the Christian dispensa- 
tion, will one day extend to their bodies which are " dead," 
that is, infirm, and condemned to die, " because of" original 
" sin ;" and with respect to the body only it is that the apos- 
tle says, Rom. viii. 23, " We ourselves also, who have the 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 19 

f rst fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting 
for the adoption " of our outward man, " that is, the re- 
demption of our body : for," with respect to the body, 
whose imperfection is so great a clog to the soul, " we are 
saved by hope." In the mean time " we know that all 
things work together for good to them that love God. 
"Who shall separate us " that love God, and walk not after 
the flesh, but after the Spirit, " from the love of Christ ? 
Shall tribulation or distress," &c., do it ? Nay, in all these 
things, much more in respect of sin and carnal -mindedness, 
we are " more than conquerors through him that loved us." 
Rom. viii. 23 — 37- 

And that this abundant victory extends to the destruc- 
tion of the carnal mind we prove by these words of the 
context : " To be carnally minded is death ; but to be 
spiritually minded is life and peace : because the carnal 
mind is enmity against God ; for it is not subject to the 
law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are 
in the flesh " (they that are carnally minded) " cannot 
please God. But ye are not in the flesh," (ye are not car- 
nally minded,) "but in the Spirit," (ye are spiritually 
minded,) " if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." 
For " where the Spirit of the Lord is," and dwells as a 
Spirit of adoption, " there is " constant " liberty ; " and 
" it" any man hath not that Spirit," or if he hath it only as 
a " spirit of bondage," to make him groan, " O wretched 
man!" he may, indeed, be a servant of God in the land 
of his spiritual captivity, but he is none of Christ's free 
men. He may serve God " in the oldness of the letter," 
as a Jew, but he does not serve him " in newness of the 
Spirit," as a Christian ; for, I repeat it, "where the Spirit 
of Christ is," and dwells according to the fuhiess of the 
Christian dispensation, " there is liberty," a glorious 
liberty, which is the very reverse of the bondage that Mr. 
Hill pleads for during the term of life. See Romans viii. 
14—21. 

Whether, therefore, we consider Romans vii., vi., or 
viii., it appears indubitable that the sense which our 
opponents fix upon Rom vii. 14, &c., is entirely contrary 
to the apostle's meaning, to the context, and to the design 



20 LAST CHECK 

of the whole epistle, which is to extol the privileges of 
those who are Christ's ahove the privileges of those who 
are Noah's or Moses's; or, if you please, to extol the 
privileges of spiritual Christians who serve God " in new- 
ness of the Spirit," above the privileges of carnal hea- 
thens and Jews, who serve him only " in the oldness of 
the letter." 



SECTION YIII. 

If the sense which our opponents give to Rom. vii. 
14 is true, the doctrine of Christian perfection is a dream, 
and our utmost attainment on earth is St. Paul's apostolic 
carnality, and involuntary " servitude to the law of sin," 
with an hopeful prospect of deliverance in a death-purgatory. 
It is therefore of the utmost importance to establish our 
exposition of that verse, by answering the arguments which 
are supposed to favour the antinomian meaning rashly fixed 
upon that portion of scripture. 

First Argument. — " If St. Paul was not ' carnal and 
sold under sin ' when he wrote to the Romans, why does 
he say, ' I am carnal ? ' Could he not have said, ' I was 
carnal once, but now the law of the Spirit of life in Christ 
Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death ?' 
Can you give a good reason why, in Rom. vii. 14, the 
phrase, ' I am carnal,' must mean, ' I was carnal V Is it 
right thus to substitute the past tense for the present ?" 

Answer. — We have already shown that this figurative 
way of speaking is not uncommon in the scriptures. We 
grant, however, that we ought not to depart from the literal 
sense of any phrase without good reasons. Several such, 
I trust, have already been produced to show the necessity 
of taking St. Paul's words, " I am carnal," in the sense 
stated in the preceding section. I shall offer one more 
remark upon this head, which, if I mistake not, might alone 
convince the unprejudiced. 

The states of all souls may, in general, be reduced to 
three : 1. That of unawakened sinners, who quietly sleep 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 21 

in the chains of their sins, and dream of self-righteousness 
and heaven. 2. That of awakened, uneasy, reluctant 
sinners, who try in vain to break the galling chains of 
their sins. And, 3. That of delivered sinners, or victori- 
ous believers, who enjoy the liberty of God's children: 
this last state is described in Rom. vii. 4, 6. The rest of that 
chapter is judiciously brought in, to show how the una- 
wakened sinner is roused out of his carnal state, and how 
the awakened sinner is driven to Christ for liberty by 
the lashing and binding commandment. The apostle 
shows this by observing, Rom. vii. 7, &c., how the law 
makes a sinner — or, if you please, made him — pass from 
the unawakened to the awakened state : " I had not 
known sin," says he, " but by the law," &c. When he 
had described his unawakened state without the law, and 
began to describe his awakened state under the law, nothing 
was more natural than to change the tense : but, having 
already used the past tense in the description of the first, 
or the unawakened, state ; and having said, " Without the 
law sin was dead : I was alive without the law once : sin 
revived, and I died," &c. ; he could no more use that tense 
when he began to describe the second, or the awakened, 
state ; — I mean the state in which he found himself when 
the commandment had roused his sleepy conscience, and 
slain his pharisaic hopes. He was therefore obliged to use 
another tense ; and none, in that case, was fitter than the 
present : just as if he had said, " When the command- 
ment slew the conceited pharisee in me ; when I died to 
my self-righteous hopes ; I did not die without a groan, 
nor did I pass into the life of God without severe pangs : 
no ; I struggled with earnestness, I complained with bit- 
terness, and the language of my oppressed heart was, " I 
am carnal, sold under sin," &c., to the end of the chapter.* 
It is therefore with the utmost rhetorical propriety that 
the apostle says, " I am," and not, " I was, carnal," &c. 

• Some time after I had -WTitten this, looking into Dr. Doddridge's 
Lectures on Divinity, page 451, I was agreeably surprised to find that 
what that judicious and moderate Calvinist prcst'nts as the most plausi- 
ble sense of Rom. vii. 14, is exactly the sense which I defend in these 
pages. Talte his own words : " St. Paul first represents a man as ii;no- 
raut of the law, and then insensible of sin } but afterwards becoming 



22 LAST CHECK 

But rhetorical propriety is not theological exactness. 
David may say, as a poet, " God was wroth. There went 
up a smoke out 'of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth 
devoured ; coals were kindled hy it." But it would be 
ridiculous to take these expressions in a literal sense. Nor 
is it much less absurd to assert that St. Paul's words, " I 
am carnal, sold under sin," are to be understood of Christian 
and apostolic liberty. 

Second Argument. — " St. Paul says to the Corinthians, 
' I write not to you as to spiritual men, but as to carnal, 
even to babes in Christ. Now, if the Corinthians could 
be at once holy, and yet carnal, why could not St. Paul be 
at the same time an eminent apostolic saint, and a carnal, 
\ATetched man, ' sold under sin V " 

Answer. — 1. The Corinthians were by no means estab- 
lished believers in general ; for the apostle concludes his 
last epistle to them, by bidding them examine whether they 
were in the faith. 2. If St. Paul proved carnal still, and 
was to continue so till death, with all the body of Christian 
believers, why did he upbraid the Corinthians with their 
unavoidable carnality ? Why did he wonder at it, and 
say, " Ye are yet carnal ; for, whereas there is among you 
envying and strife," &c., "are ye not carnal?" Might 
not these carnal Corinthians have justly replied, " Carnal 
physician, heal thyself?" 3. In the language of the apos- 
tle, " to be carnal," " to be carnally minded," " to walk 
after the flesh," " not to walk after the Spirit," and " to be 
in the flesh," are phrases of the same import. This is 
evident from Rom. vii. 14; viii. 1 — 9. And he says, 
directly or indirectly, that to those who are in that state, 
" there is condemnation : " that they " cannot please God," 
and that they are in a state of death ; because " to be " 
carnal, or "carnally minded, is death." Rom. viii. 1, 6, 8. 
Now, if he was carnal himself, does it not follow that he 

acquainted "with it, and then thrown into a kind of despair by the sen- 
tence of death which it denounces, on account of sins he is now conscious 
of having committed : he then farther shows that even where there is 
so good a disposition as even to delight in the law, yet the motives 
are too weak to maintain that uniform tenor of obedience which a good 
man greatly desires, and which the gospel, by its superior motives and 
grace, does in fact produce." 



TU a;n 1 1.> u.>ii a:\ is^i. 



23 



could not please God, and that he was in a state of con- 
demnation and death ? But how does this agree with the 
profession which he immediately makes of being " led by 
the Spirit," of " walking in the Spirit," and of " being made 
free from the law of sin and death," by " the Spirit of life 
in Christ Jesus ? " 4- We do not deny that the remains 
of the carnal mind still cleave to imperfect Christians; 
and that when the expression " carnal " is softened and 
qualified, it may, in a low sense, be applied to such pro- 
fessors as those Corinthians were to whom St. Paul said, 
" I could not speak to you as to spiritual." But could not 
the apostle be yet "spoken to as a spiritual man ?" And 
does he not allow, that, even in the corrupted churches of 
Corinth and Galatia, there were some truly spiritual men 
— some adult, perfect Christians ? See 1 Cor. xiv. 37, and 
Gal. vi. 1. 5. When the apostle calls the divided Corin- 
thians " carnal," he immediately softens the expression, by 
adding, " babes in Christ." If, therefore, the word " car- 
nal " is applied to St. Paul in this sense, it must follow 
that the apostle was but a babe in Christ ; and if he was 
but a babe, is it not as absurd to judge of the growth of 
adult Christians by his growth, as to measure the stature 
of a man by that of an infant ? 6. And lastly : the man 
described in Rom. vii. 14, is not only called " carnal," 
without any softening, qualifying phrase ; but the word 
" carnal " is immediately heightened by an uncommon 
expression, " sold under sin ;" which is descriptive of the 
strongest " bondage of corruption." Thus reason, scripture, 
and criticism agree to set this argument aside. 

Third Argument. — " The carnal man, whose cause we 
plead, says, Rom. vii. 20, 'If I do that I would not, it is 
no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me,' that 
is, in my unrenewed part ; and therefore he might be an 
eminent apostolic saint, in his renewed part, and a 
carnal, wretched man, sold under sin, in his unrenewed 
part." 

Answer. — 1. The apostle, speaking there as a carnal, 
and yet awakened, man, who has light enough to see 
his sinful habits, but not faith and resolution enough to 
overcome them, his meaning is evidently this : If I, as a 



24 LAST CHECK 

carnal man, do what I, as an awakened man, would not, 
it is no more I that do it ; that is, I do not do it according 
to my awakened conscience, for my conscience rises 
against my conduct ; but it is sin that dwelleth in me ; it 
is the tyrant sin that has full possession of me, and 
minds the dictates of my conscience no more, than an 
inexorable taskmaster minds the cries of an oppressed 
slaye. 

2. If the pure love of God was shed abroad in St. Paul's 
heart, and constrained him, he dwelt in love, and, of conse- 
quence, in God : for St. John says, " He that dwelleth in 
love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. He that is in 
you is greater than he that is in the world." Now, if 
God dwelt in Paul by his loving Spirit, it becomes our 
objectors to show, that an indwelling God and indwelling 
sin are one and the same thing ; or that the apostle had 
strangely altered his doctrine, when he asked with indig- 
nation, " What concord hath Christ with Belial ? " For, 
if indwelling sin, the Belial within, was necessarily to 
nestle with Christ in St. Paul's heart, and in the hearts of 
all believers, should not the apostle have rather cried 
out with admiration, " See how great is the concord 
between Christ and Belial ! they are inseparable ; they 
always live in the same heart together; and nothing 
ever parted them, but what parts man and wife, that is, 
death ? " 

3. If a reluctance to serve the law of sin is a proof 
that we are holy, as Paul was holy, is there not joy in 
heaven over the apostolic holiness of most robbers and 
murderers in the kingdom ? Can they not sooner or later 
say ? — " ' With my mind,' or conscience, ' I serve the law of 
God ; but with my flesh, the law of sin : how to perform 
what is good I find not.' I would be honest and loving, if 
I could be so without denying myself; but ' I find a law, 
that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.' " 
Nor can any thing be stronger upon this head than the 
words of the inhuman princess, who, being at the point of 
committing murder, cried out, " My mind," that is, my 
reason or conscience, " leads me to one thing, but my 
new, impetuous passion carries me to another against my 



TO ANTINOMIANIS?.!, 2o 

will. I see, I approve what is right, but I do Avhat is 

criminal." * 

Fourth Argument.— " The man whose experience is 
described in Rom. vii. is said to ' delight in the law of 
God after the inward man,' and to ' serve the law of God 
with the mind : ' therefore he was partaker of apostolic 
holiness." 

Answer. — Does he not also say, " AYith the flesh I 
serve the law of sin ? " And did not Medea say as much 
in her wtiy, before she imbrued her hands in innocent 
blood ? What else could she mean, when she cried out, 
" I see and approve with my mind what is right, though 
I do what is criminal ? " Did not the pharisees, for a 
time, rejoice in the burning and shining light of John the 
baptist ? And does not an evangelist inform us, that Herod 
himself heard that man of God yjSsc/jj, "with delight," 
and did " many things," too ? Mark vi. 20. But is this a 
proof, that either Medea, the pharisees, or Herod, had 
attained apostolic holiness ? 

Fifth Argument. — " The person who describes his una- 
vailing struggles under the power of sin, cries out, at last, 
' Who shall deliver me ? ' &c. ; and immediately expresses 
a hope of future deliverance, ' thanking God for it, 
through Jesus Christ our Lord.' Rom. vii. 24, 2"). 1 ( es 
not this show, that the ' carnal man, sold under sin,' 
was a Christian believer, and, of consequence, Paul 
himself?" 

Answer. — This shoAvs only, that the man sold under 
sin, and groaning for evangelical liberty, is supported 
under his unhappy circumstances by a hope of deliver- 
ance ; and that, when the law, like a severe schoolmaster, 
has almost brought him to Jesus Clu-ist, — when he is come 
to the borders of Canaan, and is not far from the kinfidoni 
of God, and the city of refuge, — he begins to look and long 
earnestly for Christ, and has, at times, comfortable hopes 
of deliverance throuoli him. He has a faith that desires 



• t^rd trahit invitam nova vis, aliudgnc cnpido, 
j\te7is aliud siiadet. f'idco vwliora, prubuque, 
Deleriora sequor. 

Ovid. 
Vol. v. c 



26 LAST CHECK 

liberty, but not a faith that obtains it. He has a degree 
of the faith to fee healed, which is mentioned Acts xiv. 9 
but he has not yet the actually healing, prevailing faith, 
which St. John calls " the victory," and which is accom- 
panied with an internal witness, that Christ is formed in 
our hearts. It is absurd to confound the carnal man, who 
struggles into Christ and Hberty, saying, "Who shall 
deliver me ? " &c., with the spiritual man, who is come to 
Christ, stands in his redeeming power, and witnesses that 
" the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made 
him free from the law of sin and death." The one may 
say, in his hopeful moments, " I thank God, I shall have 
the victory, through Jesus Chi'ist ;" but the other can say, 
" I have it now ; thanks be to God, who giveth us the 
victory through Jesus Christ our Lord." 1 Cor. xv. 57- 
The one wishes for, and the other enjoys, liberty : the one 
has ineffectual desires, and the other has victorious habits. 
Such is the contrast between the carnal penitent described 
in Rom. vii. 14, and the obedient believer described in 
Rom. viii. " There is a great difference," says the Rev. 
Mr. "Whitefield, " between good desires and good habits. 
Many have the one who never attain the other." Manj 
come up to the experience of a carnal penitent, who nevei 
attain the experience of an obedient believer. " Man} 
have good desires to subdue sin ; and yet, resting in those 
good desires, sin has always had the dominion over them ; 
with the flesh they have always served the law of sin 
" A person sick of a fever may desire to be in health, but 
that desire is not health itself." Whitefield's Works, vol. 
iv., page 7. If the Calvinists would do justice to this 
important distinction, they would soon drop the argument 
which I answer, and the yoke of carnality which they try 
to fix upon St. Paul's neck. 

Sixth Argument. — "You plead hard for the apostle's 
spirituality : but his own plain confession shows, that he 
was really carnal, and sold under sin. Does he not say to 
the Corinthians, that ' there was given him a thorn in the 
flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet him, lest he should 
be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revela- 
tions ' which had been vouchsafed him ? 2 Cor. xii. 7. 



TO ANTINOMIANIS.M. 27 

Now, "svliat could this thorn in the flesh be, but a sinful 
lust ? And 'what this messenger of Satan, but pride, or 
immoderate anger ? Thrice he besought the Lord, that 
these plagues might depart from him ; but God would not 
hear him. Indwelling sin was to keep him humble ; and 
if St. Paul stood in need of that remedy, how much more 
we ? " 

Answer. — 1 . Indwelling anger keeps us angry, and not 
meek : indwelling pride keeps us pro ad, and not humble. 
The streams answer to the fountain. It is absurd to 
suppose, that a salt spring will send forth fresh water. 

2. You entirely mistake the apostle's meaning. While 
you try to make him a modest imperfectionist, you inad- 
vertently represent him as an impudent antinomian : for, 
speaking of his thorn in the flesh, and of the buffeting of 
Satan's messenger, he calls them his " infirmities," and 
says, ''Most gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmi- 
ties." Now, if his infirmities were pride, a wrathful dis- 
position, and a filthy lust, did he not act the part of a filthy 
antinomian, when he said that he gloried in them ? Would 
not even Paul's carnal man have blushed to speak thus ? 
Far from glorying in his pride, wrath, or indwelling lust, 
did he not gi-oan, " O wretched man that I am ? " 

3. The apostle, still speaking of his "thorn in the flesh," 
and of Satan buffeting him by proxy, and still calling 
these trials his " infirmities," explains himself further in 
these words : " Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, 
in reproaches, in persecutions," &c, " for Christ's sake ; 
for when I am weak, then am I strong. Christ's streu[;lh 
is made perfect in my weakness." Those infirmities — that 
thorn in the flesh, that buffeting of Satan — cannot, then, 
be indwelling sin, or any out- breaking of it; for the 
devil himself could do no more than to take pleasure in 
his wickedness ; and, in Rom. vii., the carnal penitent 
himself "delights in the law of God after the inward 
man," instead of taking pleasure in his indwelling sin. 

4. The infirmities in which St. Paul glories and takes 
pleasure were such as had been given him to keep him 
humble after his revelations : " There was given to me a 
thorn in the flesh," &c. 2 Cor. xii. 7- Those infirmities 

c 2 



28 LAST CHECK 

and tliat thorn were not, then, indwelling sin ; for indwell- 
ing sin was n(5t given him after his yisions, seeing it 
stuck fast in him long before he went to Damascus. It is 
ahsurd, therefore, to suppose that God gave him the 
thorn of indwelling sin afterwards, or, indeed, that he 
gave it him at all. 

5. If Mr. Hill wants to know what we understand by 
St. Paul's " thorn in the flesh," and by the " messenger of 
Satan " that buffeted him, we reply, that we understand 
his bodily infirmities, — the great weakness, and the violent 
head-ache with Avhich, Tertullian and St. Chrysostom in- 
form us, the apostle was afflicted. The same God who 
said to Satan concerning Job, " Behold, he is in thine 
hand, to touch his bone and his flesh, but save his life ;" 
the same God who permitted that adversary to " bind a 
daughter of Abraham with a spirit of" bodily "infirmity 
for eighteen years;" the same gracious God, I say, per- 
mitted Satan to afflict Paul's body with uncommon pains, 
and, at times, it seems, with preternatural weakness, 
which made his appearance and delivery contemptible in 
the eyes of his adversaries. That this is not a conjecture 
grounded upon uncertain tradition is evident from the 
apostle's oAvn words two pages before : " His letters, say 
they," that buffeted me in the name of Satan, "are weighty 
and powerful ; but his bodily presence is weak, and his 
speech contemptible." 2 Cor. x. 10. And soon after, 
describing these emissaries of the devil, he says, " Such 
are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming them- 
selves into the apostles of Christ," to oppose me, and to 
prejudice you against my ministry. "And no marvel ; for 
Satan himself," who sets them on, "is transformed into an 
angel of light." 2 Cor. xi. 13, 14. But if the " thorn in the 
flesh" is all one with the buffeting messenger of Satan, St. 
Paul's meaning is evidently this : God, who suffered the 
Canaanites to " be scourges in the sides of the Israelites 
and thorns in their eyes," Joshua xxiii. 13, has suffered 
Satan to bruise my heel, while I bruise his head : and 
that adversary afflicts me thus, by his thorns and pricking 
briers, that is, by false apostles, who buffet me through 
malicious misrepresentations, which render me vilft in 



TO AXTINOMIANISM 3J 

your sight. This sense is strongly countenanced by these 
words of Ezekiel : " They shall know that I am the 
Lord ; and there shall he no more a pricking brier to the 
house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are 
round about them, that despised them." Ezekiel 
xxviii. 23, 24. 

Both these senses agree with reason and godliness, with 
the text and the context. Satan immediately pierced the 
apostle's body with preternatural pain ; and, by the malice 
of false brethren, the opposition of false apostles within 
the church, and the fierceness of cruel persecutors without, 
he immediately endeavoured to cast down or destroy the 
zealous apostle. But Paul walked in the " perfect way ; " 
and we may well say of him, what was said of Job on a 
similar occasion, " In all this " Paul " sinned not," as 
appears from his own words in this very epistle : " I am 
exceeding joyful in all our tribulation." " Our flesh had 
no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Without" 
the church *' were fightings, within were fears." We had 
furious opposition from the heathens "without;" and 
" within," we feared lest our brethren should be discouraged 
by the number and violence of our adversaries. " Never- 
theless God, who comforteth those that are cast down, 
comforted us," " We are troubled on every side, yet not 
distressed ; we are perplexed, but not in despair ; perse- 
cuted, but not forsaken ; cast down, but not destroyed ; 
always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord 
Jesus." " For which cause we faint not ; but, though 
our outward man perish " through the thorns in our flesh, 
and the buffetings of Satan ; " yet the inward man is 
renewed day by day ; " it grows stronger and stronger 
in the Lord. When I see St. Paul bear up with 
such undaunted fortitude, under the bruising hands of 
satans messengers, and the pungent operation of the 
" thorns in his flesh ; " methinks I see the general of 
the Christians waving the standard of Christian perfec- 
tion, and crying, " Be followers of me ; " be wholly 
spiritual. '' Take unto you the whole armour of God, that 
ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having 
done all, to stand," and to witness with me, that, " in all 



LAST CHECK 

these things, we are more than conquerors through him 
that hath loved jus." 

Seventh Argument. — "You extol the apostle too 
much. He certainly was a carnal man still ; for St. Luke 
informs us, that ' the contention,' Trapo^va-y^o;, ' was so 
sharp between ' Barnabas and him, ' that they departed 
one asunder from another.' Acts xv. 39. Now ' charity' 
« Trapo^vvsrai, ' is not provoked,' or ' does not contend.' 
' Strife ' or contention is one of the ' fruits of the flesh ; ' 
and if St. Paul bore that fruit, I do not see why you 
should scruple to call him a ' carnal, wretched man, sold 
under sin.' " 

Answer.- — 1. Every contention is not sinful. The 
apostle says himself, " Contend for the faith." " Be angry, 
and sin not." " It is good to be zealously affected always 
in a good thing." Jesus Christ did not break the law of 
love, when he " looked round with anger " upon the 
pharisees ; " being grieved for the hardness of their 
hearts." Nor does Moses charge sin upon God, where he 
says, " The Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, 
and in wrath, and in great indignation." If St. Paul had 
contended in an uncharitable manner, I would directly 
grant that in that hour he fell from Christian perfection. 
For we assert, that, as a carnal professor may occasioDally 
cross Jordan, take a turn into the good land, and come 
back into the wilderness, as the spies did in the daj^s of 
Joshua ; so a spiritual man, who lives in Canaan, may 
occasionally draw back, and take a turn in the wilderness, 
especially before he is " strengthened, established," and 
" settled " under his heavenly vine, in the good land that 
flows with spiritual milk and honey. But this was not 
the apostle's case. There is not the least intimation given 
of his sinning in the affair. " Barnabas," says the his- 
torian, " determined to take with them " his own nephew 
" John ]\Iark ; but Paul thought not good to do it," because 
when they had tried him before, " he went not with them 
to the work," but " departed from them from Pamphylia." 
Acts XV. 37, 38. Now, by every rule of reason and scrip- 
ture, Paul was in the right ; for we are to " try the spirits " 
and lovingly to " beware of men," especially of such men 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 31 

as have already made us smart by their cowardly fickle- 
ness, as " John Mark " had done when he had left the 
itinerant apostles in the midst of their dangers. 

2. With respect to the word Tra^o^uo-jaoj, " contention," 
or " provoking," it is used in a good, as well as in a bad, 
sense. Thus Hebrews x. 24, we read of Trocpo^va-f/.ov 
ccyccTTYjc, " a contention " or " a provoking unto love and 
good works." And therefore, granting that a grain of 
partiality to his nephew made Barnabas stretch too much 
that fine saying, " Charity hopeth all things ; " yet, from 
the circumstances of Barnabas's parting with St. Paul, we 
have not the least proof that St. Paul stained at all his 
Christian perfection in the affair. 

If the reader properly weighs these answers to the 
arguments by which our opponents try to stain the 
chai-acter of St. Paul as a spiritual man, he will see, 
I hope, that the apostle is as much misrepresented by Mr. 
Hill's doctrine, as Christian perfection is by his Fictitious 
Creed. 



SECTION IX. 

Mr. Hill s mistake with respect to St. Paul's supposed 
carnality is so much the more astonishing, as the apostle's 
professed spirituality not only clears him, but demon- 
strates the truth of our doctrine. Having therefore 
rescued his character from under the feet of those who 
"■ tread his honour in the dust," and " sell " his person 
"under sin" at an antinomian market, I shall retort the 
argument of our opponents ; and, appealing to St. Paul's 
genuine and undoubted experiences, when he "• taught 
wisdom among the perfect," I shall present the reader with 
a picture of the perfect Christian drawn at full length. 
Nor need I inform Mr. Hill, that the misrepresented 
apostle sits for his own picture before the glass of evan- 
gelical sincerity; and that turning spiritual self-painter, 
with the pencil of " a good conscience," and with colours 



32 LAST CHECK 

mixed by " the Spirit of truth," he draws this admirable 
portrait from the life : — 

" Be followers of me." " This one thing I do ; leaving 
the things that are behind, I press towards the mark for 
the prize of my heavenly calling," a crown of glory. 
" Charity is the bond of perfection." " Love is the ful- 
filling of the law." " If I have not charity, I am nothing." 
And what "charity" or "love" St. Paul had, appears 
from Christ's words, and from his own. " Greater," that 
is, more perfect, " love hath no man than this," says our 
Lord, " that he lay down his life for his friends." Now, 
this very love Paul had for Christ, for souls, yea, for the 
souls of his fiercest adversaries, the Jews. Hear him. 
" The love of Christ constraineth us." " For me to live 
is Christ, and to die is gain." " I long to depart, and to 
be with Christ." " I count not my life dear unto myself, 
that I may finish my course with joy." " I am ready not 
to be bound only, but to die also for the name of the Lord 
Jesus." " If I be offered up on the sacrifice and service 
of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all." And in the 
next chapter but one to that in which the apostle is sup- 
posed to profess himself actually " sold under sin," he 
professes " perfect love " to his sworn enemies ; even that 
love by which " the righteousness of the law is fulfilled 
in them who walk after the Spirit," Hear him. " I say 
the truth in Christ, I lie not ; my conscience also bearing 
me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I," &c., " could wish 
that myself were accursed from Christ for my kinsmen 
according to the flesh ; " meaning his inexorable, bloody 
persecutors, the Jews. 

Nor was this love of St. Paul like a land-flood : it con- 
stantly flowed like a river. This living water sprang up con- 
stantly in his soul ; witness these words : " Remember, that 
by the space of three years, I ceased not to warn every one 
night and day with tears." " Of many I have told you often, 
and now tell you even weeping, that " they " mind earthly 
things ; for our conversation is in heaven." " Our re- 
joicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in 
simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but 
by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the 



TO ANTIXOMIAMSM. 33 

world." " I know nothing," that is, no evil, " by," or of, 
" myself." " AVe can do nothing against the truth, hut for 
the truth." " Whether we are besides," that is, carried 
out beyond, " ourselves, it is to God ; or Avhether we be 
sober," that is, calm, " it is for your cause ;" that is, the love 
of God and man is the only source of all my tempers. 
" Giving no offence in anything, but in all things approving 
ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, by 
pureness, by kindness, by love unfeigned ; " " being filled 
Avith comfort, and exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.' 
" I will gladly spend and be spent for you ; though the 
more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved ; " a rare 
instance this of the most perfect love ! " We speak 
before God in Christ : we do all things, dearly belovc:^, for 
your edifying." " I am crucified with Christ : nevertheless 
I live ; yet not I," (see here the destruction of sinful 
self!) "but Christ liveth in me : and the life I now live 
in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God." " As 
always, so now also, Christ shall be magnified in my body, 
whether it be by life, or by death. "W'e worship God in 
the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confi- 
dence in the flesh." " Mark them who walk so, as ye 
have us for an example." " I have learned, in Avhatsoever 
st;ite I am, therewith to be content; everywhere, and in 
all things, I am instructed both to abound and to suff"er 
need ; I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth 
me." " Teaching every man in all wisdom, that I may 
present every man perfect in Christ Jesus ; whereunto 
also I labour, striving according to his working, whicli 
worketh in me mightily." 

This description of the perfect Christian, and of St. Paul, 
is so exceedingly glorious ; and it appears to me such a 
refutation of the Calvinian mistake which I oppose, that I 
caimot deny myself the pleasure, and my readers tlie 
edification, of seeing the misrepresented apostle give his 
own lovely picture a few more finishing strokes. " We 
speak not as pleasing men." says he, "' but as pleasing 
God, who trietli our hearts." " For neither at any time 
used we flattering words," &c. ; " God is witness : nor of 
men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others." 

c 5 



34 LAST CHECK 

" But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherish.- 
eth her children." " Being affectionately desirous of you, 
we were willing to have imparted to you, not the gospel 
of God only, but also our own souls ; labouring night and 
day, because we would not be chargeable to any of you. 
Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily, and justly, 
:Lnd unblamably we behaved ourselves among you." 
" The Lord make you abound in love one towards another, 
and towards all men, even as we do towards you." " Thou 
hast fully known my manner of life, purpose, faith, long- 
suffering, charity, patience." " I have kept the faith ; 
henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteous- 
ness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me 
in that day." 

When I read this wonderful experience of St. Paul, 
written by himself, and see his doctrine of Christian per- 
fection so gloriously exemplified in his own tempers and 
conduct, I am surprised that good men should still con- 
found Saul the Jew with Paul the Christian ; and should 
take the son of the " earthly Jerusalem, which is in bond- 
age with her children," for the son of " the Jerusalem 
from above," whicli " is free," and " is the mother of us 
all," who " stand in the liberty wherewith Christ hath 
made us free." But, upon second thoughts, I wonder no 
more ; for if those who engross to themselves the title of 
'■• catholics " can believe that Christ took his own body in 
his own fingers, and broke it through the middle, when 
he took bread, broke it, and said, " This is my body, 
which is l)roken for you ;" why cannot those who mono- 
polize the name of " orthodox " among us, believe also 
that St. Paul spoke without a figure when he said, " I am 
carnal, sold under sin," and " brought into captivity to the 
law of sin, which is in my members. Brethren, I beseech 
you be as I am : those things which ye have heard and 
seen in me, do, and the God of peace shall be with you." 
Now you have " heard and seen," that " the evil which I 
would not, that I do ;" and that "with my flesh I serve 
the law of sin." In short, you have heard and seen, that 
" I am carnal, sold under sin." 

I am not at ail surprised that carnal and injudicious 



TO ANTING MIANISM. 35 

professors should contend for this contradictory doctrine, 
this flesh-pleasing standard of Calvinian inconsistency and 
Christian imperfection. But that good and, in other 
respects, judicious men should so zealously contend for it, 
appears to me astonishing. They can never design to 
confound carnal bondage with evangelical liberty, and St. 
Paul's Christian experience with that of Medea and Mr. 
Fulsome, in order to countenance gross antinomianism ; 
nor can they take any pleasure in misrepresenting the 
holy apostle. Why do they then patronize so great a 
mistake ? I answer still, By the same reason which 
makes pious papists believe that consecrated bread is the 
real flesh of Christ, Their priests and the pope say so ; 
some figurative expressions of our Lord seem to counte- 
nance their saying. We protestants, whom the papists 
call " carnal reasoners" and " heretics," are of a difi'erent 
sentiment ; and should they believe as we do, their humi- 
lity and orthodoxy would be in danger. Apply this to 
the present case. Calvinian divines and St. Augustine 
atfirm, that St. Paul humbly spake his present experience 
when he said, " I am cai-nal," &:c. We Avho are called 
'' Arminians" and "Perfectionists" think the contrary; 
and our pious opponents suppose, that if they thought as 
we do, they should lose their humility and orthodoxy. 
Their error, therefore, springs chiefly from mistaken feai>;, 
and not from a wilful opposition to truth. 

Nor is St. Augustine fully for our opponents ; we have 
our part in the bisliop of Hippo, as Avell as they. If he 
Avas for them when his controversy with Pelagius had 
heated him, he was for us when he yet stood upon tli. 
scriptural line of moderation. Then he fairly owned, tli;'i 
the man whom the apostle personates in Rom. vii., is 
homo sub lege positus aide y^ratiam^ "a mm under the" 
condemning, irritating "power of the law, who is yet :i, 
stranger to the liberty and power of Christ's gospel." 
Therefore, if Mr. Hill claims ISt. Augustine the prejudiced 
controvertist, we claim St. Augustine the unprejudiced 
father of the church ; or rather, setting aside his dubious 
authority, we continue our appeal to unprejudiced reason 
and plain scripture. 



36 LAST CHICK 

What I say of St. Augustine may be said of the Eev. 
Mr. Whitefield. Before he had embraced St. Augustine's 
mistakes, which 'are known among us by the name of 
" Calvinism," he believed, as well as that father, that the 
disconsolate man who groans, " Who shall deliver me ? " 
is not a possessor, but a seeker, of Christian liberty. To 
prove it I need only transcribe the latter part of his ser- 
mon entitled, " The marks of the new birth : " — 

" Thirdly," says he, " I address myself to those who are 
under the drawings of the Father, and are going through 
the spirit of bondage ; but not finding the marks" of the 
new birth " before mentioned, are ever crying out," (as 
the carnal penitent, Rom. vii.,) " Who shall deliver us 
from the body of this death ? Despair not ; for, notwith- 
standing your present trou])le, it may be the divine plea- 
sure to give you the kingdom." Hence it appears that 
Mr. Whitefield did not look upon such mourners as 
Christian believers, but only as persons who might be- 
come such if they earnestly sought. He therefore most 
judiciously exhorts them to seek till they find. " The 
grace of God through Jesus Christ," adds he, " is able to 
deliver you, and give you what you want ; even you may 
receive the Spirit of adoption, the promise of the Father. 
All things are possible with him ; persevere, therefore, in 
seeking, and determine to find no rest in your spirit till 
you know and feel that you are thus born again from 
above, and God's Spirit witnesses with your spirits, that 
you are the children of God." 

What immediately follows is a demonstration that, at 
that time, Mr. Whitefield was no enemy to Christian per- 
fection, and thought that some had actually attained it ; 
or else nothing would have been more trifling than his 
concluding address to perfect Christians. Take his own 
words ; and remember that when he preached them, by 
the ardour of his zeal, and the devotedness of his heart, 
he showed himself a young man in Christ, able to trample 
under foot the most alluring baits of the flesh and of the 
world. 

" Fourthly and lastly," says he, " I address myself to 
those who have received the Holy Ghost in all its sancti- 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 37 

fying graces, and are almost ripe for glory. Hail, happy 
saints ! for your heaven is begun upon earth. You have 
already received the first fruits of the Spirit, and are 
patiently waiting till that blessed change come, when your 
harvest shall be complete. I see and admire you, though, 
alas ! at so great a distance from you.* Your life, I 
know, is hid ^^iih. Christ in God. You have comforts, 
you have meat to eat, which a sinful, carnal," &c., " world 
knows nothing of; Christ's yoke is now become easy to 
you, and his burden light; you have passed through 
the pangs of the neAV birth, and now rejoice that Christ 
Jesus is formed in your hearts. You know what it is to 
dwell in Christ, and Christ in you. Like Jacob's ladder, 
although your bodies are on earth, yet your souls and 
hearts are in heaven ; and by your faith and constant 
recollection, like the blessed angels, you do always behold 
the face of your Father which is in heaven. I need not 
then exhort you to press forward," &c. " Rather I will 
exhort you in patience to possess your souls yet a little 
while, and Jesus Christ will deliver you from the burden 
of the flesh, and an abundant entrance shall be adminis- 
tered unto you into the eternal joy," &c., " of his heavenly 
kingdom." I have met with few descriptions of the 
perfect Christian that please me better : I make but one 
objection to it. Mr. Whitefield thought, that the believers 
who, " by constant recollection, like the blessed angels, 
always behold the face of their Father," are so advanced 
in grace, that they " need not be exhorted to press for- 
ward." This is carrying the doctrine of perfection higher 
than jMr. "Wesley ever did. For my part, were I to preach 



• At that time 3.1r. Whitefield was in orders, and had " received the 
Spirit of adoption." As a proof of it, I appeal, 1. To the account of 
his converijiou at Oxford before he was ordained ; and, 2. To these, big 
own words, " I can say, to the honour of rich, free, distinguishing 
grace, that I ' received the Spirit of adoption' before I had conversed 
with one man, or read a single book, on the doctriuo of free justification 
by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ ; " that is, before he had 
had any opportunity of being drawn from the simplicity of the scripture 
gospel into the Calvinian refinements. See his ^\'orks, vol. iv., page 
45. Now, those Christians who leave babes and yoimg men in Christ 
" at so great a distance from them," are the very persons whom we call 
'* fathers in Christ," or " perfect Christians." 



38 LAST CHECK 

to a congregation of such "happy saints," I would not 
scruple taking this text, " So run that ye may" eternally 
" obtain ;" nor Vould I forget to set before them the 
example of the perfect apostle, who said, " This one thing 
I do, leaving the things that are behind, and- reaching 
forth," &c., " I press towards the mark," &c. Had I been 
in Mr. Whitefield's case, I own, I would either have 
refused to join the imperfectionists, or I would have 
recanted my Address to perfect Christians. 

So strong is the scriptural tide in favour of our doctrine, 
that it sometimes carries away the Rev. Mr. Romaine 
himself. Nor can I confirm the wavering reader in his 
belief of the possibility of obtaining the glorious liberty 
which we contend for, better than by transcribing a fine 
exhortation of that great minister to what we call 
" Christian perfection," and what he calls " the walk of 
faith : " — 

" The new covenant runs thus : ' I will put, says God, 
my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts,' 
&c. The Lord here engages to take away the stony heart, 
and to give an heart of flesh, upon which he will write 
the ten commandments," &c. " The love of God will open 
the contracted heart, enlarge the selfish, warm the cold, 
and bring liberality out of the covetous. When the 
Holy Spirit teaches brotherly love, he overcomes all oppo- 
sition to it," &c., " he writes upon their hearts the two great 
commandments, ' on which hang all the law and the pro- 
phets.' 'The love of God,' says the apostle to the 
Romans, 'is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy 
Ghost;' and to the Thessalonians, 'Ye yourselves are 
taught of God to love one another.' Thus he engages 
the soul to the holy law, and inclines the inner man to 
love obedience. It ceases to be a yoke and a burden. 
How easy is it to do what one loves ! If you dearly love 
any person, what a pleasure is it to serve him ! What 
will not love put you upon doing or suffering, to oblige 
him ? Let love rule in the heart to God and to man, his 
law will then become delightful, and obedience to it will 
be pleasantness. The soul will run; yea, inspired by 
love, it will mount up with wings as eagles, in the way of 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 39 

God's commandments. Happy are the people that are in 
such a case." Now such a case is what we call " the 
state of Christian perfection," to the obtaining of which, 
Mr. Romaine excites his oAvn soul by the following excel- 
lent exhortation : — 

" This is the very tenor of the covenant of grace, which 
the almighty Spirit has undertaken to fulfil," (if we mix 
faith with the promises, as Mr. Romaine himself wiU soon 
intimate,) " and he cannot fail in his office. It is his 
crown and glory to make good his covenant engagements. 
O trust him then, and put honour upon his faithfulness." 
(That is, if I mistake not, make good your own covenant- 
engagements.) " He has promised to guide thee with 
his counsel, and to strengthen thee with his might, &c. 
What is within thee, or without thee, to oppose thy walk- 
ing in love with him, he will incline thee to resist, and he 
will enable thee to overcome. O what mayest thou not 
expect from such a divine friend, who is to abide with 
thee on purpose to keep thy heart right with God !" 
(Query, When the heart is kept full of indwelling sin, is 
it kept right with God ? ) " What cannot he do, what 
will he not do, for thee ? Such as is the love of the 
Father and of the Son, such is the love of the Holy 
Ghost ; the same free, perfect, everlasting love. Read 
his promises of it. Meditate on them. Pray to him for 
increasing faith to mix with them ; that he" (not sin) 
" dwelling in the temple of thy licart, thou mayest have 
fellov.sliip there with the Father and with the Son. 
Whatever in thoe is pardoned through the Son's atone- 
ment, pray the Holy Spirit to sul)due, that it may not 
interrupt communion witli thy God. And whatever 
grace is to be received out of tlie fulness of Jesus, in 
order to keep up and to promote that communion, entreat 
the Holy Spirit to give it thee with growing strength. 
But pray in faith, nothing ^vavering. So shall the love 
of God rule in thy heart. And then thou shalt be like 
the sun, when it goeth forth in its might, shining clearer 
and clearer to the perfect day. O may thy course be like 
his, as free, as regular, and as communicative of good ! 
that thy daily petition may be answered, and that the 



40 LAST CHECK 

will of thy Father may be done on earth as it is in 
heaven." Walk of Faith, vol. i., page 227, &c. 

I do not produce this excellent quotation to insinuate 
that the Rev. Mr. Romaine is -a perfectionist ; but only 
to edify the reader, and to show that the good, mistaken 
men who are most prejudiced against our doctrine, see it 
sometimes so true and so excellent, that, forgetting their 
pleas for indwelling sin, they intimate that our " daily 
petition may be answered," and that " the will of our 
Father may be done on earth as it is in heaven," — an 
expression this, which includes the height and depth of all 
Christian perfection. 



SECTION X. 

The scripture declares that " we are built upon the 
foundation of the apostles ; Jesus Christ himself being the 
chief corner-stone : " and St. Paul being deservedly con- 
sidered as the chiel" of the apostles, and, of consequence, 
as the chief stone of the foundation on which, next to the 
corner-stone, our holy religion is built, who can wonder at 
the pains which our opponents take to represent this 
important part of our foundation as " carnal," " wretched," 
and "sold under sin?" Does not every body see that 
such a foundation becomes the antinomian structure which 
is raised upon it ? And is it not incumbent upon the 
opposers of aritinomianism, to uncover that wretched 
foundation, by removing the heaps of dirt in which St. 
Paul's spirituality is daily buried ; and, by this means, to 
rescue the holy apostle, whom our adversaries endeavour 
to sell under sin as a carnal wretch ? This rescue has been 
attempted in the four last sections. If I have succeeded 
in this charitable attempt, I may proceed to vindicate the 
holiness of St. John, who is the last apostle that Mr. Hill 
calls to the help of indwelling sin, Christian imperfection, 
and a death-purgatory. 

Before I show how the loving apostle is pressed into a 
service which is so contrary to his experience, and to his 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 41 

doctrine of perfect love, I shall make a preliminary 
remark. To take a scripture out of the context, and to 
make it speak a language contrary to the obvious design 
of the sacred Avriter, is the Avay of ])utchering the body of 
scriptural divinity. This conduct injures truth as much 
as the Galatians would have injured themselves if they 
had literally pulled their eyes out, and given them to St. 
Paul. An edifying passage thus displaced may become 
as loathsome to a moral mind, as a good eye, torn out 
of its bleeding orb in a good face, is odious to a tender 
heart. 

Among the passages which have been thus treated, none 
has suffered more violence than this : " If we say that 
we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is 
not in us." 1 John i. 8. "That is enough for me," says 
an hasty imperfectionist : " St. John clearly pleads for 
the indwelling of sin in us during the term of life ; 
and he is so set against those Avho profess deliverance 
from sin, and Christian perfection, in this life, that he 
does not scruple to represent them as liars and self- 
deceivers ! 

Our opponents suppose that this argument is unan- 
swerable ; but to convince them that they are mistaken 
we need only prove that the sense which they so confi- 
dently give to the words of St. John is contrary, 1. To 
his design ; 2. To the context ; and, 3. To the pure 
and strict doctrine which he enforces in the rest of the 
e})ist!c. 

I. AVith respect to St. John's design, it evidently was to 
confirm ])c'lic'vcrs who were in danger of being deceived by 
antinomian and antichristian seducers. When he wrote 
this epistle the church began to l)c corrupted by men who, 
under pretence of knowing the mysteries of the gospel 
better than the apostles, imposed upon the simple Jewish 
fables, heathenish dreams, or vain philosophic specula- 
tions ; insinuating that their doctrinal peculiarities were 
the very marrow of the gospel. Many such arose at the 
time of the reformation, Avho introduced stoical dreams into 
])r()tes{;uitism, and whom bishop Latimer, and others, 
steadily opposed under the name of " gospellers." 



42 LAST CHECK 

The doctrines of all these gospellers centred in making 
Christ, indirectly at least, the minister of sin ; and in 
representing the preachers of practical, self-denying Chris- 
tianity, as persons unacquainted with Christian liberty. 
It does not, indeed, appear that the "gnostics," or 
"knowing ones," — for so the ancient gospellers were 
called, — carried matters so far as openly to say, that believ- 
ers might be God's dear children in the very commission 
of adultery and murder, or while they worshipped Milcom 
and Ashtaroth ; but it is certain that they could already 
reconcile the verbal denial of Christ, fornication, and 
idolatrous feasting, with true faith ; directly or indi- 
rectly " teaching and seducing " Christ's " servants to 
commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols." 
Rev. ii. 20. At these antinomians, St. Peter, St. James, 
and St. Jude levelled their epistles. St. Paul strongly 
cautioned Timothy, Titus, and the Ephesians against them. 
See Eph. iv. 14; v. 6. And St. John wrote his first epis- 
tle to warn the believers who had not yet been seduced 
into their error ; — a dreadful, though pleasing, error this, 
which, by degrees, led some to deny Christ's law, and then 
his very name : hence the triumph of the spirit of anti- 
christ. Now, as these men insinuated that believers could 
be righteous without doing righteousness ; and as they 
supposed that Christ's righteousness, or our own know- 
ledge and faith, would supply the want of internal sanctifi- 
cation and external obedience ; St. John maintains, against 
them, the necessity of that practical godliness which con- 
sists in not committing sin, in not transgressing the law, 
in keeping the commandments, and in walking as Christ 
walked ; nay, he asserts that Christ's blood, through the 
faith which is our victory, purifies "from all sin, and 
cleanses from all unrighteousness." To make him, there- 
fore, plead for the necessary continuance of indwelling sin. 
or heart-unrighteousness, till we go into a death-purgatory, 
is evidently to make him defeat his own design. 

II. To be more convinced of it, we need only read the 
controverted text in connexion with the context; illus- 
trating both by some notes in parentheses. St. John opens 
his commission thus : " This is the message which w( 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 43 

have received of him," (Christ,) " and declare unto you, 
that God is light," (bright, transcendent purity,) "and in 
him is no darkness " (no impurity) " at all. If we " (be- 
lievers) " say that we have fellowship with him," (that we 
are united to him by an actually living faith,) "and walk 
in darkness," (in impurity or sin,) " we lie, and do not the 
truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light," 
(if we live up to our Christian light, and do righteousness,) 
" we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of 
Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John i. 
5 — 7- For, "let no man deceive you; he that doeth 
righteousness is righteous, even as he " (Christ) " is righ- 
teous : and in him is no sin." 1 John iii. 7? 5- So far 
we see no plea either for sin, or for the Calvinian 
purgatory. 

Should Mr. Hill reply, that, " when St. John says, ' The 
blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin,' the loving apostle 
means all but indwelling sin ; because this is a sin from 
which death alone can cleanse us ;" we demand a proof, 
and, in the mean time, we answer, that St. John, in the 
above-quoted passages, says, that " he who doeth righteous- 
ness," in the full sense of the word, " is righteous as " 
Christ "is righteous;" observing, that "in him" (Christ) 
" is no sin." So certain, then, as there is no indwelling 
sin in Christ, there is no indwelling sin in a believer who 
" doeth righteousness," in the full sense of the word ; for he 
is " made perfect in love," and is cleansed from all sin. 
Nor was St. John himself ashamed to profess this glorious 
liberty ; for he said, "Our love is made perfect, that we 
may have boldness in the day of judgment ; because as he " 
(Christ) " is " perfect in love, and, of consequence, with- 
out sin, " so are v»c in this world." 1 John iv. 17. And 
the whole context shows that the beloved apostle spake 
these great words of a likeness to Christ with respect to 
the perfect love which fulfils the laAv, abolishes tormenting 
fear, and enables the believer to stand with " boldness in 
the day of judgment," as being forgiven, "and conformed 
to the image of God's Son." 

If Mr. Hill urges, that " the blood of Christ, powerfully 
applied by the Spirit, cleanses us, indeed, from the guilt, 



44 LAST CHECK 

but not from the filthiness, of sin ; blood having a reference 
to justification «,nd pardon, but not to sanctification and 
holiness ;" we reply, that this argument is not only 
contrary to the preceding answer, but to the text, the con- 
text, and other plain scriptures. 1. To the text, where 
our being cleansed from all sin is evidently suspended 
on our humble and faithful walk : " If we walk in 
the light, as he is in the light, the blood of Christ 
cleanses us," &c. Now, every novice in gospel grace 
knows that true protestants do not suspend a sinner's jus- 
tification on his walking " in the light, as " God " is in the 
light." 2. It is contrary to the context ; for in the next 
verse but one, where St. John evidently distinguishes 
forgiveness and holiness, he peculiarly applies the word 
" cleansing " to the latter of these blessings : " He is 
faithful to forgive us our sins," by taking aAvay our guilt, 
" and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," by taking 
away all the filth of indwelling sin. And, 3. It is con- 
trary to other places of scripture, where Christ's blood is 
represented as having a reference to purification, as well as 
to forgiveness. God himself says, " "Wash ye ; make you 
clean ; put away the evil of your doings ; cease to do evil ; 
learn to do well." The washing and cleansing here spoken 
of have undoubtedly a reference to the removal of the 
filth, as well as of the guilt, of sin. Accordingly we 
read, that all those who " stand before the throne have " 
both " washed their robes, and made them white in the 
blood of the Lamb;" that is, they are justified by, and 
sanctified with, his blood. Hence our church prays, " that 
we may so eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood, 
that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and 
our souls washed " (that is, made clean, also) " through 
his most precious blood." To rob Christ's blood of its sanc- 
tifying power, and to confine its efficacy to the atonement, 
is therefore an antinomian mistake, by which our oppo- 
nents greatly injure the Saviour, whom they pretend to 
exalt. 

Should Mr. Hill assert, that when St. John says, " If 
we walk in the light," &c., " the blood of Christ cleanses 
us from c.ll sin," the loving apostle's meaning is not, that 



TO AXTINOMIANISM. 45 

the blood of Christ radically cleanses us, but onlv, that it 
begins and carries on a cleansing from all sin. which 
cleansing will be completed in a death-purgatory ; w^e 
answer: 1. This assertion leaves Mr. Hill's doctrine open 
to all the above-mentioned difficulties. 2. It overthrows 
the doctrine of the protestants, who have always main- 
tained, that nothing is absolutely necessary to eternal 
salvation, and, of consequence, to our perfect cleansing, 
but an obedient, steadfast faith, apprehending the full 
virtue of Christ's purifying blood, according to Acts xv. 9, 
" God, giving them the Holy Ghost, put no difference 
between them and us, purifying their hearts by faith," not 
by death. 3. It is contrary to matter of fact ; Enoch and 
Elijah having been translated to heaven, and therefore 
having been perfectly purified, even in body, without 
going into the Calvinian purgatory. But, 4. What dis- 
pleases us most in the evasive argument which I answer 
is, that it pours the greatest contempt on Christ's blood, 
and puts the gi-eatest cheat on Aveak believers, who sin- 
cerely Avant to be now made perfect in love, that they may 
now worthily magnify God's holy name. 

An illustration will prove it. I suppose that Christ is 
now in England, doing as many wonderful cures as he 
formerly did in Judea. My benevolent opponent runs to 
the Salop infirmary, and tells all the patients there, that 
the great Physician, the Son of God, has once more 
visited the earth ; that he again heals all manner of sick- 
ness and diseases among the people, and cleanses from the 
most inveterate leprosy by a touch or a word. All the 
patients believe Mr. Hill : some hop to this wonderful 
Saviour, and others are carried to his footstool. They 
touch and retouch him ; he strokes them round again and 
again ; but not one of them is cured. The w^ounds of 
some are indeed skinned over for a time ; but it soon 
appears, that they still fester at the boUom, and that a 
painful core remains un extracted in every sore. The poor 
creatures complain to Mr. Hill : " Did you not, sir, assure 
us, upon your honour, as a Christian gentleman, that 
Christ heals all manner of diseases, and cleanses from all 
kinds of leprosies ?" "True," says Mr. Hill; "but you 



46 LAIST CHECK 

must know, that these words do not mean, that he radi- 
cally cares anj disease, or cleanses from any leprosy; 
they only signify, that he begins to cure every disease, 
and continues to cleanse from all leprosies. But, not- 
withstanding all his cures begun and continued, nobody 
is cured before death. So, my friends, you must bear your 
festering sores as well as you can, till death comes radically 
to cleanse and cure you from them all." Instead of crying, 
" Sweet grace ! rich grace ! " and of clapping Mr. Hill for 
his evangelical message, the disappointed patients desire 
him to take them back to the infirmary, saying, " "We 
have there a chance for a cure before death ; but your 
great Physician pronounces us incurable, unless death 
comes to the help of his art; and we think that any 
surgeon could do as much, if he did not do more." See 
section xii., argument 20. 

If Mr. Hill says," that I " beat the air," and that "the text 
which" he quotes in his Creed for Perfectionists, "to show 
that it is impossible to be cleansed from all sin before 
death, is not 1 John i. 7, but the next verse;" I reply, that 
if St. John asserts, in verse 7, that Christ's blood, power- 
fully applied by the Spirit of faith, cleanseth us from all 
sin, that inspired writer cannot be so exceedingly incon- 
sistent as to contradict himself in the very next verse. 

Should the reader ask, " What then can be St. John's 
meaning in that verse where he declares, that ' if we say 
that we have no sin, Ave deceive ourselves, and the truth 
is not in us ? ' How can these words possibly agree 
with the doctrine of a perfect cleansing from all sin ? " 
we answer, that, St. John, having given his first stroke 
to the antinomian believers of his day, strikes by the bye 
a blow at pharisaic professors. There were, in St. John s 
time, as there are in our own, numbers of men who had 
never been properly convinced of sin, and who boasted, as 
Paul once did, that, " touching the righteousness of the 
law, they were blameless : " they served God, they did 
their duty, they gave alms, they never did any body any 
harm; they thanked God, that they were not as other 
men, but especially, that they were not like those 
mourners in Sion, who were, no doubt, very wicked. 



TO ANTIN0MIANIS3I. 47 

since they made so mucli ado about God's merer, and a 
powerful application of the Redeemer's ali-cleausii.g blood. 
How proper, then, was it for St. John to inform his 
readers, that these whole-hearted Christians, these perfect 
pharisees, were no better than liars and self-deceivers ; 
and that true Christian righteousness is always attended 
by a genuine conviction of our native depravity, and by an 
humble acknowledgment of our actual transgressions ! 

This being premised, it appears, that the text so dear 
to, and so mistaken by, our opponents has this fair, 
scriptural meaning : " If we " (followers of him who came 
" not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance ") 
" say we have no sin," (no native depravity fi-om our first 
parents, and no actual sin, at least, no such sin as 
deserves God's wrath, fancying we need not secure a 
particular application of Christ's atoning and purifying 
blood,) " we deceive ourselves, and the truth" of repent- 
ance and faith " is not in us." 

That these words are levelled at the monstrous error 
of self-conceited and self-perfected pharisees, and not at 
" the glorious liberty of the children of God," appears to 
us indubitable from the following reasons : — 1. The imme- 
diately pi-eceding verse strongly asserts this liberty. 2. 
The verse immediately following secures it also, and cuts 
down the doctrine of our oppcaients ; the apostle's mean- 
ing being evidently this : Thougli I write to you, that if 
■we say, AVe are originally free from sin, and never did 
any harm, " we deceive ourselves ; " yet, mistake me not, 
I do not mean that we need continue under the guilt, or 
in the moral infection, of any sin, original or actual ; for 
if we penitently and Ix'lievingly confess both, "he is 
faithful and ju^t to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us 
from all unrighteousness," whether it be native or self- 
contracted, internal or externjd. Therefore, if we have 
attained the glorious lil)erty of (mhI's children, avo ne( d 
not, through voluntary humility, sa}', that we do notliing 
l)Ut sin. It will be sufficient, when we are "• cleansed 
from all unrighteousness," still to be deeply humbled for 
our present infirmities, and for our past sins, confessing 
both with godly sorrow and filial shame. For if we 



48 LAST CHECK 

should say, AYe have not sinned, (Note : St. John does 
not write, If Aje should say. We do not sin,) "we make 
him a liar, and the truth is not in us;" common sense 
dictating, that if " we have not sinned," we speak an 
untruth, when Ave profess that Christ has forgiven our 
sins. This appears to us the true meaning of 1 John 
i, 8, when it is fairly considered in the light of the 
context. 

III. We humbly hope, that Mr. Hill himself will be 
of our sentiment if he compares the verse in debate with 
the pure and strict doctrine w^hich St. John enforces 
throughout this epistle. In the second chapter he says, 
" We know that we know him, if we keep his command- 
ments," &c. " AYhoso keepeth his word, in him verily is 
the love of God perfected. He that abideth in him 
ought himself also so to walk, even as he M'alked," &c. 
" He that loveth his brother abideth in the light," where 
the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin, " and there is 
none occasion of stumbling in him." 

The same doctrine runs also through the next chapter : 
" Ever}^ one that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, 
even as he" (Christ) "is pure. Whosoever committeth 
sin transgresseth also the law," &c. : " and ye know that 
he was manifested to take away our sins;" that is, to 
destroy them root and branch ; " and in him is no sin. 
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not : whosoever sin- 
neth does not" properly see him, neither "know him." 
He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he" 
(Christ) " is righteous. He that committeth sin," (that 
is, as appears by the context, " he that transgresseth the 
law,") " is of the devil ; for the devil sinneth from the 
beginning. For this purpose was the Son of God mani- 
fested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 
Whosoever is born of God," (whosoever is made partaker 
of God's holiness according to the perfection of the Chris- 
tian dispensation,) " doth not commit sin ; " (that is, does 
not transgress the law ;) " for his seed" (the ingrafted 
word, made quick and powerful by the indwelling Spirit) 
" remaineth in him, and" (morally speaking) " he cannot 
sin, because he is" thus "born of God." For "if ye 



TO ANTIXOMIANIS.M, 49 

know tliat he is righteous, ye know that every one that 
doeth righteousness is born of him," and that he that doeth 
not righteousness, he " that committeth sin," or trans- 
gresseth the law, " is" so far " of the devil ; for the devil" 
transgi'esseth the law, that is, " sinneth from the begin- 
ning." " In this the children of God are manifest, and 
the children of the devil.* Whosoever doeth not righte- 
ousness," that is, whosoever sinneth, taking the word in its 
evangelical meaning, " is not of God." 1 John iii. 3 — 11 ; 
ii. 29. 

If Mr. HiU cries out, " Shocking ! Who are those men 
that do not sin ?" I reply, All those whom St. John 
speaks of a few verses below: "Beloved, if our heart con- 
demn us," (and it will condemn us if w^e sin, but God 
much more, for) " God is greater than our heart," &c. 
" Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have confi- 
dence towards God," &c., "because we keep his com- 
mandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his 
sight." 1 John iii. 20, &c. Now, we apprehend, all the 
sophistry in the world w^ill never prove that, evangelically 
speaking, " keeping God's commandments" and " doing 
what pleases him" is sinning : therefore, when St. John 
professed to " keep God's commandments," and " to do 
what is pleasing in his sight," he professed what our 
opponents call "sinless perfection," and wdiat we call 
'• Christian perfection." 

]\Ir. Hill is so very unhappy in his choice of St. John 
to close the number of his apostolic witnesses for Chris- 
tian imperfection, that, w^ere it not for a few clauses of 
his first epistle, the anti-solifidian severity of that apostle 
might drive all imperfect Christians to despair. And 
what is most remarkable, those few encouraging clauses 
are all conditional : " If any man sin ; " (for there is no 
necessity that he should ;) or rather, according to the 
most literal sense of the vv^ord ajOtaprvj, which, being in the 
aorist, has generally the force of a past tense, " If any 

• This doctrine of St. John is perfectly agreeahle to that of our Lord, 
who said, that Judas had a devil, because he gave place to the love of 
money ; and who called Peter himself " Satan," when he " savoured the 
things of men " in opposition to " the things of God." 

Vol. v. d 



50 LAST CHECK 



man have sinned ;" "If he have not sinned unto death ;' 
" If we confiess our sins ;" " If that which ye have heard 
shall remain in you;" " If we walk in the light ;" — then 
do we evangelically enjoy the benefit of our Advocate's 
intercession. Add to this, that the first of those clauses 
is prefaced by these words : " My little children, these 
things I write unto you, that ye sin not ;" and all together 
are guarded by these dreadful declarations: " He that says, 
I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a 
liar." " If any man love the world, the love of the 
Father is not in him." " If any man say, I love God, 
and loveth not his brother," (Note : he that loveth ano- 
ther hath fulfilled the law,) " he is a liar." " There is a 
sin unto death ; I do not say that he shall pray for it. 
Let no man deceive you, he that doeth righteousness is 
righteous." " He that committeth sin" (or transgresseth 
the law) " is of the devil." To represent St. John, there- 
fore, as an enemy to the doctrine of Christian perfection, 
does not appear to us less absurd than to represent Satan 
as a friend to complete holiness. 



SECTION XI. 

If Mr. Hill had quoted Solomon instead of St. John, 
and Jewish instead of Christian saints, he might have 
attacked the glorious Christian liberty of God's children 
with more success ; for " the heir, as long as he is a child," 
in Jewish nonage, " differeth nothing from a servant ; but 
is under tutors " and schoolmasters '' until the time ap- 
pointed by the father. Even so we, when we were 
children, were in bondage. But when the fulness of 
the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, 
made under the law, that we might receive the adoption 
of sons," " and stand in the " peculiar " liberty, wherewith 

Christ has made us " (Christians) " free." Gal. iv. 1 5 ; 

V. 1. But this very passage, which shows that Jews are, 
comparatively speaking, in bondage, shows also that the 
Christian dispensation, and its high privileges, cannot be 



TO ANTIXOMIAMS.M. 51 

measured by the inferior privileges of the Jewish dispen- 
sation, under which Solomon lived. For " the law made 
nothing perfect" in the Christian sense of the word. 
And " what the law could not do, God sending his only 
son, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of 
the law might be fulfilled in us" (Christian believers) 
" who walk after the Spirit ; "' being endued with that large 
measure of it, which began to be poured out on be- 
lievers in the day of pentecost ; for that measure of the 
Spirit was not given before ; " because Jesus was not yet 
glorified." John vii. 39. But after he had " ascended on 
high," and had " obtained the gift " of the " indwelling 
Comforter " for believers ; they " received," says St. Peter, 
" the end of their faith," even " the " Christian " salvation 
of their souls ; " a salvation this, which St. Paul justly 
calls " so great salvation," when he compares it "with 
Jewish privileges. Ileb. ii. 3. " Of "which " Christian 
"salvation the" Jewish "prophets have inquired, Avho 
prophesied of the grace that should come unto you " 
Christians ; " searching what, or what manner of time the 
Spirit of Christ which was in them," (according to their 
dispensation) " did signify, Avhen it testified beforehand 
the sufferings of Christ, and the glory " (the glorious dis- 
pensation) '' that should follow" his retiu'n to heaven, and 
accompany the outpouring of his Spirit, " Unto Avhom '' 
(the Jewish prophets) " it was revealed, that not unto 
themselves, but unto us " (Christians) " they did minister 
the things which are now preached unto you with the 
Holy Ghost sent down from heaven." 1 Pet. i. J), &c. 
And, among those '' things," the scriptures reckon tlie 
''coming" of "the" spiritual "kingdom" of Christ "with 
}»ower" into the heart of believers; and the baptism of 
fire, or the perfect love, which " burns up the chaff"" of 
sin, " thoroughly purges God's floor," and makes the hearts 
of perfect believers " an habitation of God through the 
Spii-it," and not a nest for " indwelling sin." 

As this doctrine may appear new to Mr. Hill, I beg leave 
to confirm it by the testimony of two as eminent divines 
as England has lately produced. The one is 3 1.r. Baxter, 
who, in his comment upon these words, " A testament is 

D 2 



52 LAST CHECK 

of force after men are dead," &c., Heb. ix. 17, very justly 
observes, that "his" (Christ's) "covenant hae the nature 
of a testament, vrhich supposeth the death of the testator, 
and is not of efficacy till then, to give full right of what 
he bequeatheth. Note, that the eminent, evangelical 
kingdom of the Mediator, in its last, full edition, called 
* the kingdom of Christ, and of heaven,' distinct from the 
obscure state of promise before Christ's incarnation, began 
at Christ's resurrection, ascension, and sending of the 
eminent gift of the Holy Ghost, and was but as an embryo 
before." My other witness is the Rev. Mr. Whitefield, 
who proposes and answers the following question : — 
"Why was not the Holy Ghost given till Jesus Christ 
was glorified ? Because till then he was himself on the 
earth, and had not taken on him the kingly office, nor 
pleaded the merits of his death before his heavenly 
Father, by which he purchased that invaluable blessing 
for us." See his works, vol. iv., p. 362. Hence I con- 
clude, that, as the full measure of the Spirit, which perfects 
Christian believers, was not given before our Lord's 
ascension, it is as absurd to judge of Christian perfection 
by the experiences of those who died before that remark- 
able event, as to measure the powers of a sucking child by 
those of an embryo. 

This might suffice to unnerve all the arguments which 
our opponents produce from the old testament against 
Christian perfection. However, we are willing to consider 
a moment those passages by which they plead for the 
necessary indwelling of sin in all Christian believers, 
and defend the walls of the Jericho within, that ac- 
cursed "city of refuge" for spiritual Canaanites and 
Diabolonians. 

I. 1 Kings viii. 46, &c., Solomon prays and says, " If 
they " (the Jews) " sin against thee, (for there is no man 
that sinneth* not,) and thou be angiy with them, and 



* If Mr. Hill consults the original, he will find that the word trans- 
lated " sinneth " is in the futm-e tense, which is often used for an in- 
definite tense in the potential mood, because the Hebrews have no such 
mood or tense. Therefore our translators would only have done justice 
to the original, as well as to the context, if they had rendered the whole 



TO AXTIXOMIAMSM. 53 

deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them aAvay 
captive ; yet, if they bethink themselves, and repent, 
and make supplication unto thee, and return unto thee 
Avith all their heart, and with all their soul : then hear 
thou their prayer." No unprejudiced person, who, in 
reading this passage, takes the parenthesis (" for there is 
no man that sinneth not ") in the connexion with the con- 
text, can, I think, help iseeing that the Rev. Mr. Toplady, 
who, if I remember right, quotes this text against us, 
mistakes Solomon, as much as Mr. Hill does St. John. 
The meaning is evidently, that " there is no man who is 
not liable to sin;" and that a man actually sins, when he 
actually departs from God. Now peccability, or a liable- 
ness to sin, is not indwelling sin ; for angels, Adam, and 
Eve, were all liable to sin in their sinless state. And, that 
there are some men who do not actually sin is indubitable : 

1 . From the hypothetical phrase in the context, " if they 
sin," which shows that their sinning is not unavoidable. 

2. From God's anger against those that sin, which is im- 
mediately mentioned. Hence it appears, that so certain 
as God is not " angry with all " his people, some of them 
" do not sin " in the sense of the wise man. And, 

3. From Solomon's intimating, that these very men who 
have sinned, or have actually departed from God, may 
" bethink themselves, repent, and return to God with all 
their heart, and Avith all their soul," that is, may attain the 
perfection of their dispensation ; the two poles not being 
more opposed to each other, than sinning is to repenting ; 
and departing from God, to returning to him with " all 
our heart and with all our soul." Take therefore the 
whole passage together, and you have a demonstration, 
that " where sin hath abounded," there " grace " may 
" much more abound." And what is this, but a demon- 
stration that our doctrine is not chimerical ? For if Jews, 
Solomon himself being judge, instead of sinning and 
departing from God, can " repent, and return " to him 
" with all their hearts," how much more Cliristians, whose 
privileges are so much greater ! 

clause, "There is no man that might not sin," instead of, " There is 
no man that sinneth not." 



54 LAST CHECK 

II. " But Solomon says also, * There is not a just 
man upon eajth, that doeth good, and sinneth not/ Eccles. 
Tii. 20." 

J . We are not sure that Solomon says it ; for he may 
introduce here the very same man who, four verses before, 
says, " Be not righteous overmuch," &c., and Mr. Toplady 
may mistake the interlocutor's meaning in one text, as 
Dr. Trapp has done in the other. But, 2. Supposing 
Solomon speaks, may not he in general assert what St. Paul 
does, Rom. iii. 23, " All have sinned, and come short of 
the glory of God," the "just" not excepted ? Is not this 
the very sense which Canne, Calvinist as he was, gives to 
the wise man's words, when he refers the reader to this 
assertion of the apostle ? And did we ever speak against 
this true doctrine ? 3. If you take the original word " to 
sin," in the lowest sense which it bears ; if it means in 
Eccles. vii. 20, what it does in Judges xx. 16, namely, 
" to miss a mark," we shall not differ ; for we maintain, 
that, according to the standard of paradisiacal perfection, 
" there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and 
misses not " the mark of that perfection ; that is, that does 
not lessen the good he does, by some involuntary, and there- 
fore, evangelically speaking, " sinless defect." 4. It is 
bold to pretend to overthrow the glorious liberty of God's 
children, which is asserted in a hundred plain passages of 
the ncAv testament, by producing so vague a text as 
Eccles. vii. 20. And to measure the spiritual attainments 
of all believers, in all ages, by this obscure standard, 
appears to us as ridiculous as to affirm, that of a thousand 
believing men, nine hundred and ninety-nine are indubi- 
tably villains ; and that of a thousand Christian women, 
there is not one but is a strumpet ; because Solomon says, 
a few lines below, " One man among a thousand have I 
found ; but a woman among all those have I not found." 
Eccles. vii. 28. 

III. If it be objected, that "Solomon asks, 'Who can 
say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my 
sin ? ' Prov. xx. 9 ; " we answer : — 

1. Does not Solomon's father ask, " Who shall dwell in 
thy holy hill ? " Does a question of that nature always 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 5; 



OO 



imply an absurdity, or an impossibility ? ]\Iight not Solo- 
mon's query be evangelically ans^Yered tbus? — " The man in 
whom thy father David's prayer is ansAvered, ' Create in 
me a clean heart, O God ; ' — the man who has regarded St. 
James's direction to the primitive solifidians, ' Cleanse 
your hearts, ye double minded ; ' — ^the man who has obeyed 
God's awful command, ' O Jerusalem, wash thy heart from 
iniquity, that thou mayest be saved ; ' — or the man who is 
interested in the sixth beatitude, ' Blessed are the pure in 
heart, for they shall see God; — that man, I say, can 
testify to the honour of ' the blood which cleanseth from 
all sin,' that ' he has made his heart clean.' " 

2. However, if Solomon, as it is most probable, reproves 
in this passage the conceit of a perfect, boasting pharisee, 
the answer is obvious : no man of that stamp can say 
with any truth, " I have made my heart clean ; " for the 
law of faith excludes all proud boasting, and " if we say " 
with the temper of the pharisee, " that we have no sin, 
we cleceiA'e ourselves, and the truth is not in us; " for we 
have pride, and pharisaic pride too, which, in the sight of 
God, is perhaps the greatest of all sins. If our opponents 
take the Avise man's question in either of the preceding 
scriptural senses, they will find that it perfectly agrees 
with the doctrine of Jewish and Christian perfection. 

IV Solomon's pretended testimony against Christian 
perfection is frequently backed by two of Isaiah's sayings 
considered out of the context ; one of which respects the 
filthiness of our righteousness, and the other the unclean- 
ness of our lips. I have already proved, Check iv., letter 
viii., that the righteousness which Isaiah compares to 
'• filthy rags," and St. Paul to "dung," is only the anti- 
evangelical, pharisaic righteousness of unhumbled pro- 
fessors ; a righteousness this, which may be called the 
righteousness of impenitent pride, rather than the righ- 
teousness of humble faith : therefore the excellence of 
the righteousness of faith cannot, with any propriety, be 
struck at by that passage. 

V " But Isaiah, undoubtedly speaking of himself, says, 
* Woe is me ! for I am undone ; because I am a man of 
unclean lips,' Isaiah vi. 5." 



56 LAST CHECK 

True : but give yourself the trouble to read the two 
following versi^s, and you will hear him declare, that the 
power of God's Spirit, applying the blood of sprinkling, 
(which power was represented by " a live coal taken from 
off the altar,") " touched his lips," so that " his iniquity was 
taken away, and his sin purged." This passage, there- 
fore, when it is considered with the context, instead of 
disproving the doctrine of Christian perfection, strongly 
proves the doctrine of Jewish perfection. 

If Isaiah is discharged from the service into which he 
is so unwarrantably pressed, from the land of Uz our 
opponents will bring Job, whom the Lord himself pro- 
nounces perfect according to his dispensation, notwith- 
standing the hard thoughts which his friends entertained 
of him. 

VI. Perfect Job is absurdly set upon demolishing 
Christian perfection, because he says, " If I justify myself, 
mine own mouth shall condemn me ; if I say," (in a pha- 
risaic, self-justifying spirit,) " I am perfect, it shall also 
prove me perverse." Job ix. 20. But, 1. What does Job 
assert here, more than Solomon does in the words to 
Avhich Canne on this text judiciously refers his readers, 
" Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth ; 
a stranger, and not thine own lips ? " Though even this 
rule is not without exception : witness the circumstances 
which drove St. Paul to what he calls a " confidence of 
boasting." 2. That professing the perfection of our dis- 
pensation in a self-abasing and Christ-exalting spirit, is 
not a proof of perverseness, is evident from the profession 
which humble Paul made of his being one of the perfect 
Christians of his time, Phil. iii. 15 ; and from St. John's 
declaration, that his " love was made perfect," 1 John iv. 
1 1. For when we have the " witnessing Spirit, whereby 
we know the things which are freely given to us of God," 
we may, nay, at proper times, we should, acknowledge his 
gifts to his glory, though not to our own. 3. If God 
himself had pronounced Job perfect according to his dis- 
pensation. Job's modest fear of pronouncing himself so, 
does not at all overthrow the divine testimony : such a 
timorousness only shows, that the more we are advanced 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 57 

in grace, the more we are averse to whatever has the 
appearance of ostentation ; and the more deeply we feel 
what Job felt when he said, " Behold, I am vile ; what 
shall I answer thee ? I will lay my hand upon my mouth." 
Job xl. 4. 

YII. " But Job himself, far from mentioning his per- 
fection, says, ' Now mine eye seeth thee, I abhor myself, 
and repent in dust and ashes.' Job xlii. 5, 6." And does 
this disprove our doctrine 1 Do we not assert, that our 
perfection admits of a continual growth, and that perfect 
repentance and perfect humility are essential parts of it ? 
These words of Job, therefore, far from overthrowing our 
doctrine, prove that the patient man's perfection grew ; 
and that from the top of the perfection of gentilism he 
saw the day of Christian perfection, and had a taste of 
what Mr. Wesley prays for, when he sings, 

" O let me gain perfection's height \" &c. 

" Confound, o'erpower me with thy grace 
I would be by myself abhorr'd ; 
All might, all majesty, all praise, 
All glory be to Christ my Lord ! " 

VIII. With respect to these words, " The stars are not 
pure, the heavens are not clean in his sight ; his angels he 
charged with folly," Job xxv. 5 ; xv. 15; iv. 18 ; we must 
consider them as a proof that absolute perfection belongs 
to God alone ; a truth this, which we inculcate as well 
as our opponents. Besides, if such passages overthrew 
the doctrine of perfection, they would principally over- 
throw the doctrine of angelical perfection, which Mr. Hill 
holds as well as we. To conclude : — • 

IX. When Job asks, " What is man, that he should 
be clean?" " How can he be clean that is bom of a 
woman?" "Who can bring a clean thing out of an 
unclean?" and when he answers, " Not one," he means 
" not one who falls short of infinite power." If he ex- 
cluded " Emmanuel, God with us," I would directly point 
at Him who said, "I will, be thou clean;" and at the 
believers who declare, " We can do all things ^brough 
€hrist that strengtheneth us," and, accordingly. " cleanse 

D 5 



58 LAST CHECK 

themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, that 
they may be /ound of him without spot and blameless." 
Yea, I would point at the poor leper, who has faith 
enough to say, " Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me 
clean." They tell me that my leprosy must cleave to me 
till death batter down this tenement of clay ; but faith 
speaks a diiGferent language : only say the word, " Be 
thou clean," and I shall be cleansed : — " Purge me with 
hyssop, sprinkle clean water upon me, and I shall be clean 
from all my filthiness." 

If these remarks are just, does it not appear, that it is 
as absurd to stab Christian perfection through the sides 
of Job, Isaiah, and Solomon ; as to set Peter, Paul, 
James, and John, upon " cutting it up root and branch ?" 



SECTION XII. 

I HAVE hitherto stood chiefly upon the defensive, by 
showing that Mr. Hill has no ground to insinuate, that 
our church, and Peter, Paul, James, and John, are de- 
fenders of the tAvin-doctrines of Christian imperfection 
and a death-purgatory. I shall now attack these doc- 
trines by a variety of arguments, which, I hope, will 
recommend themselves to the candid reader's conscience 
and reason. 

If I wanted to encounter Mr. Hill with a broken reed, 
and not with the weapons of a protestant, — reason and 
scripture, — I would retort here the grand argument by 
which he attempts to cut down our doctrines of free 
agency and cordial obedience : " The generality of the 
carnal clergy are for you : therefore your doctrines are 
false." If this argument is good, is not that which follows 
better still ? — " The generality of bad men is for your 
doctrine of Christian imperfection : therefore that doctrine 
is false ; for if it were true, wicked people would not so 
readily embrace it." Put, as I see no solidity in an argu- 
ment by which I could disprove the very being of a 
God, (for the generality of wicked men believe there 



TO ANTINOMIAMSM. 59 

is a Supreme Being,) I discard it, and begin with, one 
which, I hope, is not unworthy of the reader's attention. 

I. Does not St. Paul insinuate, that no soul goes to 
heaven without perfection, where he calls the blessed 
souls that wait for an happy resurrection, Trvsujaaxa 
iixaicov TSTsXsicoixsvoov, " the spirits of just men made 
perfect," and not TSTe\sioojjusvoi 7rvsu[xa.Tcx. dijcaioov, " the 
perfected spirits of just men ?" Heb. xii. 23. Does not 
this mode of expression denote a perfection which they 
attained while they were men, and before they com- 
menced separate spirits, that is, before death ? Can 
any one go to a holy and just God without being first 
made just and holy ? Does not the apostle say, that " the 
unrighteous" (or imjust) " shall not inherit the kingdom 
of God?" and that "without holiness no man shall see 
the Lord ?" Must not this holiness, of whatsoever degree 
it is, be free from every mixture of unrighteousness ? 
If a man has at death the least degree of any unrighteous 
and defiling mixture in his soul, must he not go to some 
purgatory, or to hell ? Can he go to heaven, if " nothing 
that defileth shall enter the new Jerusalem ?" And if at 
death his righteous disposition is free from every un- 
righteous, immoral mixture, is he not a just man perfected 
on earth, according to the dispensation he is under ? 

II. If Christ takes away the outward pollution of 
believers while he absolutely leaves their hearts full of 
indwelling sin in this life, why did he find fault w^ith the 
pharisees for cleansing the " outside of the cup and 
platter," whilst they left the " inside full of all corrup- 
tion ?" If God says, "My son, give me thy heart;" 
if he " requires truth in the inward parts," and complains, 
that the " Jews drew near to him with their lips," when 
their " hearts were far from him;" is it not strange, he 
should be willing that the heart of his most peculiar 
people, the heart of Cliristians, should necessarily re- 
main unclean during the term of life ? Besides, is there 
any other gospel way of fully cleansing the lips and hands, 
but by throughly cleansing the heart ? And is not a 
cleansing so far pharisaical as it is heartless ? Once 
more : if Christ has assured us, that " blessed are the 



60 LAST CHECK 

pure" in heart, and that " if the Son shall make us free, 
we shall he free indeed," does it not behove our oppo- 
nents to prove, that a believer has a pure heart who is 
full, of indwelling corruption ; and that a man is free 
indeed, who is still " sold under" inbred "sin?" 

III. When our Lord has bound the indwelling man 
of sin, "the strong man armed," can he not "cast him 
out ?" When he " cast out devils and unclean spirits" 
with a word, did he call death to his assistance ? Did 
he not radically perform the wonderful cure to show his 
readiness and ability radically to cure those whose hearts 
are possessed by indwelling iniquity, that cursed sin 
whose name is "legion?" When the legion of expelled 
fiends "entered into the swine,"' the poor brutes were 
delivered from their infernal guests by being " choked 
in the sea." Death, therefore, cured them, not Christ. 
And can we have no cure but that of the swine ? no 
deliverance from indwelling sin but in the arms of 
death ? If this is the case, go, drown your plaguing 
corruptions in the first pond you will meet with, ye poor 
mourners, who are more weary of your life, because of 
indwelling sin, than Rebecca was because of the daugh- 
ters of Heth. 

ly How does the notion of sin, necessarily dwell- 
ing in the heart of the most advanced Christians, agree 
with the full tenor of the new covenant, which runs 
thus ? — " I will put my laws in their minds, and write 
them in their hearts." " The law of the Spirit of life 
in Christ Jesus" shall "make" them "free from the law 
of sin and death." If the laws of perfect love to God 
and man are fully put into the heart of a believer, ac- 
cording to the full tenor of Christ's gospel, Avhat room 
remains for the hellish statutes of Satan ? Does not the 
Lord cleanse the believer's heart as he writes the law of 
love there ? And when that law is wholly written by the 
Spirit, " the finger of God," which applies the alL-cleansing 
blood, is not the heart wholly cleansed ? When God 
completely gives the heart of flesh, does he not completely 
take away the heart of stone ? Is not the heart of stone 
the very rock in which the serpent, indwelling sin, lurks ? 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 61 

And Avill God take away that cursed rock, and spare tlie 
venomous viper that breeds in its clefts ? 

V Cannot the little leaven of sincerity and truth leaven 
the whole heart ? But can this be done without purging 
out entirely " the old leaven of malice and wickedness ?" 
May not a father in Christ be as free from sin as one who 
is totally given up to a reprobate mind is free from righte- 
ousness ? Is not the glorious liberty of God's children the 
very reverse of the total and constant slavery to sin in 
which the strongest sons of Belial live and die ? If a full 
admittance of Satan's temptation could radically destroy 
original righteousness in the hearts of our first parents ; 
why cannot a full admittance of Christ's gospel radically 
destroy original unrighteousness in the hearts of believers ? 
Does not the gospel promise us, that "where sin has 
abounded, grace " shall " much more abound ?" And did 
not sin so abound once as entirely to sweep away inward 
holiness before death ? But how does grace abound much 
more than sin, if it never can entirely sweep away inward 
sin without the help of death ? 

TI. Is there not a present, cleansing power, as well as 
a present, atoning efficacy, in the Redeemer's blood? 
Plave we not already taken notice that the same scripture 
Avhich informs us, that " if we confess our sins, he is faith- 
ful and just to forgive us our sins," declares also that, upon 
the same gracious terms, " he is faithful and just to cleanse 
us from all unrighteousness?" Now, if the faithful and 
just God is ready to forgive to-day a poor mourner, who 
sincerely confesses his guilt, — and if it Avould be doing 
divine faithfulness and justice great dishonour to say, that 
God will not forgive a weeping penitent beforcthe article 
of death, — is it doing those divine perfections honour to 
assert that God will not cleanse, before death, a believer, 
who humbly confesses and deeply laments the remains 
of sin ? Why should not God display his faithfulness 
and justice in cleansing us now from inbred sin, as "well 
as in forgiving us now our actual iniquities, if we now 
comply with the gracious terms, to the performance 
of which this double blessing is annexed in the gospel 
charter ? 



62 LAST CHECK 

YII. If our opponents allow that faith, and love may 
be made perfect two or three minutes before death, they 
give up the point. Death is no longer absolutely neces- 
sary to the destruction of unbelief and sin ; for if the 
" evil heart of unbelief, departing from the living God," 
may be taken away, and the completely " honest and good 
heart" given, two or three minutes before death, we desire 
to know why this change might not take place two or three 
hours, two or three weeks, two or three years, before that 
awful moment. 

VIII. It is, I think, allowed on all sides that " we are 
saved," that is, sanctified, as well as justified, " by faith." 
Now, that particular height of sanctification, that full 
" circumcision of the heart," which centrally purifies the 
soul, springs from a peculiar degree of saving faitb, and 
from a particular operation of the " Spirit of burning;" — a 
quick operation this, which is compared to a " baptism of 
fire," and proves sometimes so sharp and searching that it 
is as much as a healthy, strong man can do to bear up 
under it. It seems, therefore, absurd to suppose that 
God's infinite wisdom has tied this powerful operation to 
the article of death, that is, to a time when people, through 
delirium or excessive weakness, are frequently unable to 
think, or to bear the feeble operation of a little wine and 
water. 

IX. "When our Lord says, " Make the tree good, and 
its fruit good. A good man out of the good treasure of 
his heart bringeth forth good things ;" does he suppose that 
the heart of his faithful people must always remain fraught 
with indwelling sin ? Is indwelling sin a good treasure ? 
or does Christ any where plead for the necessary indwell- 
ing of a bad treasure in a good man ? When " the spouse 
is all glorious within ; when her " eye is single," and her 
" whole body fuU of light ; " how can she be still fall of 
darkness and inbred iniquity ? And when St. Paul observes, 
that established Christians are " full of goodness," (Rom. 
XV. 14,) who can think he means, that they are "full of 
heart- corruption ?" and, what is worse still, that they must 
continue so to their dying day ? 

X. If Christian perfection is nothing but the depth of 



TO AXTINOMIANISM. 63 

evangelical repentance, the fall assurance of faith, and the 
pure love of God and man shed abroad in a faithful believ- 
er's heart by the Holy Ghost given unto him, to cleanse 
him, and to keep him clean " from all iilthiness of the 
flesh and spirit ; " and to enable him to " fulfil the law of 
Chi-ist," according to the talents he is entrusted M^ith, and 
the circumstances in which he is placed in this vrorld ; — if 
this, I say, is Christian perfection, nothing can be more ab- 
sm-d than to put off the attaining of it till we die and go to 
heaven. This is evident from the descriptions of Christian 
perfection which we find in the new testament. The first 
is our Lord's account in the beatitudes. For how can holy 
mourning be perfected in heaven, where there will be 
nothing but perfect joy ? Will not the loving disposition 
of peacemakers ripen too late for the church, if it ripens 
only in heaven, where there will be no peace-breakers ? or 
in the article of death, when people lose their senses, and 
are utterly disabled from acting a reconciler's part ? Ye 
that are " persecuted for righteousness' sake," will ye stay 
till you are among the blessed to " rejoice in tribulation?" 
Will the blessed " revile you, and say all manner of evil 
of you falsely," to give you an opportunity of being 
" exceeding glad " Avhen you are " counted worthy to suffer 
for Christ's name?" And, ye double-minded Christians, 
will ye tarry for the blessedness of the " pure in heart " 
till ye come to heaven ? Have ye forgot that heaven is 
no piivgatory, but a glorious reward for those who are 
" pure in heart;" — for those who have " purified them- 
selves, even as God is pure ?" 

XI. Fiom the beatitudes, our Lord passes to precepts 
descriptive of Christian perfection reduced to practice: 
" If thy brother hath aught against thee, go thy way, and 
be reconciled to him." " Agree quickly with thine adver- 
sary." " Resist not evil." " Turn the left cheek to him 
that smites thee on the right." " Give alms " so as " not 
to lot thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." 
" Fast " evangelically. " Lay not up treasures upon earth." 
" Take no " anxious " thought what you shall eat." " Bless 
them that curse you, do good to them that hate you ; 
that ye may be the children of your Father who is in 



64 LAST CHECK 

heaven : for lie maketli his sun to shine on the just and on 
the unjust." " Be ye perfect, as your Father who is in 
heaven is perTect." "What attentive reader does not see 
that none of these branches of a Christian's practical per- 
fection can grow in the article of death ? and that to suppose 
they can flourish in heaven is to suppose that Christ says, 
" Be thus and thus perfect, when it will be absolutely im- 
possible for you to be thus and thus perfect : love your 
enemies, when all will be your friends : do good to them 
that hate you, when all will flame with love towards you : 
turn your cheek to the smiters, when the cold hand of 
death will disable you from moving a finger ; or when God 
shall have fixed a great gulf between the smiters and 
you ?" 

XII. The same observation holds with respect to that 
important branch of Christian perfection which we call 
" perfect self-denial.' " If thine eye offend thee," says our 
Lord, " pluck it out. If thy right hand offend thee, cut it 
off," &c. Now, can any thing be more absurd than to put 
off the perfect performance of these severe duties till we die, 
and totally lose our power over our eyes and hands ? or, 
till we arrive at heaven, where nothing that offendeth can 
possibly be admitted ? 

XIII. St. Luke gives us, in the Acts, a sketch of the 
perfection of Christians living in community. " The mul- 
titude of them that believed," says he. " were of one heart 
and of one soul. They continued steadfastly in the apos- 
tles' doctrine, and in prayers. They had all things com- 
mon ; parting their possessions to all, as every man had 
need. Neither said any of them that aught of the things 
which he possessed was his own." And " continuing daily 
in the temple," and " breaking bread from house to house, 
they ate their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 
praising God." When I read this description of the prac- 
tical perfection of a Christian church, I am tempted to 
smile at the mistake of our opponents, and to ask them if 
we can eat our meat with gladness in the article of death ; 
or sell our possessions for the relief of our brethren on earth, 
when we are gone to heaven. 

XIV Consider we some of St. Paul's exhortations to 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 65 

the display of the perfection which we contend for, and we 
shall see in a still stronger light the absurdity which I 
point out. He says to the Romans, " Pi'esent your bodies 
a living sacrifice ; and be not conformed to this present 
world, that ye may prove what is that perfect will of God. 
Having difi'erent gifts," use them all for God : " exhorting 
with diligence, giving with simplicity, showing mercy with 
cheerfulness; not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, 
serving the Lord ; communicating to the necessities of the 
saints ; given to hospitality ; Aveeping with them that weep^ 
being of the same mind ; condescending to men of low 
estate ; providing things honest in the sight of all men ; 
heaping coals of fire " (coals of burning love and melting 
kindness)," on the head of your enemy," by "giving him 
meat, if he is hungry, or drink, if he is thirsty ; overcom- 
ing" thus "evil with good." Again : exhorting the Corinthi- 
ans to Christian perfection, he says, " Brethren, the time 
is short. I would have you without carefulness. It 
remaineth that they who have wives be as if they had 
none ; they that weep, as if they wept not ; they that 
rejoice, as if they rejoiced not ; they that buy, as if they 
possessed not ; and they that use this world, as not abusing 
it," &c. Once more : stirring up the Philippians to the 
perfection of humble love, he writes, " Fulfil ye my joy, 
that ye think the same thing, have the same love ; being 
of one soul, of one mind. Do nothing through vain glory, 
but in lowliness of mind esteem each the other better than 
themselves. Look not every one on his own things, but 
every one also on the things of others : let this mind be 
in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who humbled him- 
self and became obedient even unto death." Now, all 
these descriptions of the practical part of Christian perfec- 
tion, in the very nature of things, cannot be confined to 
the article of death, much less to our arrival at heaven : 
for when we are dying, or dead, we cannot " present our 
bodies a living sacrifice;" we cannot "use this world as 
not abusing it ;" nor can we " look at the things of others " 
as well as at our own. 

XY The same thing may be said of St. Paul's fine 
description of Christian perfection, under the name of 



66 LAST CHECK 

" charity :" " Charity sufFereth long ; " but at death all our 
sufferings ar^ cut short. " Charity is not provoked ; it 
thinkethno evil ; it covereth all things ; it rejoiceth not in 
iniquity ; it hopeth all things, believeth all things, endureth 
all things," &c. The bare reading of this description shows 
that it does not respect the article of death, when we 
cease to " endure " any thing ; much less does it respect 
heaven, where w^e shall have absolutely nothing to endure. 

XVI. If a perfect fulfilling of our relative duties is a 
most important part of Christian perfection, how ungene- 
rous, how foolish is it to promise the simple, that they 
shall be perfect Christians at death, or in heaven ! Does 
not this assertion include all the following absurdities ? — 
Ye shall perfectly love your husbands and wives in the 
article of death, when you shall not be able to distinguish 
your husbands and wives from other men and women ; or 
in heaven, where ye " shall be like the angels of God," 
and have neither husbands nor wives. Ye shall assist 
your parents and instruct your children with perfect ten- 
derness, when ye shall be past assisting or instructing them 
at all ; when they shall be in heaven or in hell, past 
needing, or past admitting, your assistance and instructions. 
Ye shall inspect your servants with perfect love, or serve 
your masters with perfect faithfulness, when the relations of 
master and servant will exist no more. Ye shall perfectly 
bear with the infirmities of your weak brethren, when ye 
shall leave all your weak brethren behind, and go where all 
your brethren will be free from every degree of trying 
weakness. Ye shall entertain strangers, attend the sick, and 
visit the prisoners with perfect love, when ye shall give up 
the ghost, or when ye shall be in paradise, where these 
duties have no more place than lazar-houses, sick beds, 
prisons, and gallows. 

XYII. Death, far from introducing imperfect Chris- 
tians into the state of Christian perfection, will take them 
out of the very possibility of their ever attaining it. This 
will appear indubitable, if we remember that Christian per- 
fection consists in perfect repentance, perfect faith, perfect 
hope, perfect love of an invisible God, perfect charity for 
visible enemies, perfect patience in pain, and perfect 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 67 

resignation under losses; in a constant bridling of our 
bodily appetites, in an assiduous keeping of our senses, in 
a cheerful taking up of our cross, in a resolute " following 
of Christ Avithout the camp," and in a deliberate choice to 
" suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to 
enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." Now, so certain 
as there can be no perfect " repentance in the grave," no 
Christian faith where all is sight, no perfect hope where all 
is enjoyment ; no perfect love of an invisible God or of 
visible enemies, where God is visible and enemies are in- 
visible ; no bearing pain with perfect patience, when pain 
is no more ; and no suffering affliction with the people of 
God, where no shadow of affliction lights upon the people 
of God, &c. : so certain, I say, as death incapacitates us 
for all these Christian duties, it incapacitates us also for 
every branch of Christian perfection. Mr. Hill might 
then as well persuade the simple, that they shall become 
perfect surgeons and perfect midwives, perfect masons and 
perfect gardeners, in the grave, or beyond it ; as to per- 
suade them, that they shall become perfect penitents and 
perfect believers in the article of death, or in the new 
Jerusalem. 

XYIII. From the preceding argument it follows, that 
the graces of repentance, faith, hope, and Christian charity, 
or love for an invisi])le God, for trying friends, and for 
visible enemies, must be perfected here or never. If Mr. 
Hill grants that these graces are, or may be, perfected here, 
he allows all that we contend for. And if he asserts, that 
they shall never be perfected, because there is " no perfec- 
tion here," and because the perfection of repentance, &c., 
can have no more place in heaven than sinning and mourn- 
ing; I ask, Avhat becomes then of the scriptures which 
Mr. Ilill is so ready to produce when he defends Calvinian 
perseverance ? " As for God, his work is perfect." " Being 
confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a 
good work in you," who " have always obeyed," (Phil. i. 
6,) " will perform," or sTrirsKzasi, " will perfect it," if you 
continue to obey. " The Lord will perfect what concerneth 
me." " Praying exceedingly that we," as workers together 
Tvith God, " might perfect that which is lacking in your 



68 LAST CHECK 

faith." " Looking unto Jesus, the author and " (tsAsjcottjv) 
" the perfegter of our faith ; for he is faithful that 
promised." How can the Lord he faithful, and yet never 
perfect the repentance and faith of his obedient people ? 
Will he sow such a blessed seed as that of faith, hope, 
and love to our enemies, and never let a grain of it either 
miscarry, or bring forth fruit to perfection ? Is not this a 
flat contradiction ? How can a pregnant woman never 
miscarry, and yet never bring forth the fruit of her womb 
to any perfection ? Such, however, is the inconsistency 
which Mr. Hill obtrudes upon us as gospel. If his doc- 
trine of Calvinian perseverance is true, no believer can 
miscarry; no grain of true faith can fail of producing 
fruit to perfection. And if his doctrine of Christian 
imperfection is true, no believer can be perfect ; no grain 
of faith, repentance, hope, and love for our husbands and 
wives, can possibly grow to perfection. How different is 
this doctrine from that of our Lord, who, in the parable 
of the soWer, represents all those who do not " bear fruit 
unto perfection," as miscarrying professors ! 

XIX. If impatience was that bodily disorder which is 
commonly called the heartburn; if obstinacy was a 
crick in the neck ; pride, an imposthume in the breast ; 
raging anger, a fit of the toothache ; vanity, the dropsy ; 
disobedience, a bodily lameness ; uncharitableness, the 
rheumatism ; and despair, a broken bone ; there would be 
some sense in the doctrine of Christian imperfection, and 
reason could subscribe to Mr. Hill's creed : for it is certain, 
that death effectually cures the heartburn, a crick in the 
neck, the toothache, &c. But what real affinity have 
moral disorders with bodily death ? And why do our 
opponents think we maintain a " shocking " doctrine, 
when we assert, that death has no more power to cure our 
pride, than old age to remove our covetousness ? Nay, do 
we not see that the most decrepit old age does not cure 
men even from the grossest lusts of the carnal mind? 
When old drunkards and fornicators are as unable to 
indulge their sensual appetites, as if they actually ranked 
among corpses, do they not betray the same inclinations 
which they showed when the strong tide of their youthfuL 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. GD 

blood joined witli the rapid stream of their vicio as habits ? 
Is not this a demonstration, that no decay of tlie body, 
no, not that complete decay which we call death, has 
any necessary tendency to alter our moral habits ? And do 
not the ancients set their seal to this observation ? Doesi 
not Solomon say, that " in the place where the tree, 
falleth, there shall it be ? " And has Mr. Hill forgotten 
those remarkable lines of Virgil ? — 

QuoB cura nitentes 
Pascere equos, eadem sequitur tellure repostos ? 

" Disembodied souls have, in the world of spirits, the 
very same dispositions and propensities which they had 
when they dwelt in the body." 

XX. If God had appointed death to make an end of 
heart pollution, and to be our complete saviour from sin, 
our opponents might screen their doctrine of a death- 
purgatory behind God's appointment ; it being certain 
that God, who can command iron to swim, and fire to 
cool, could also command the filthy hands of death to cleanse 
the thoughts of our hearts. But we do not read in our 
bible either that God ever gave to indwelling sin a lease 
of any believer's heart for life, or that he ever appointed 
the king of terrors to deliver us from the deadly seeds of 
iniquity. And although the old testament contains an 
account of many carnal ordinances adapted to the carnal 
disposition of the Jews, we do not remember to have read 
there, Death " shall circumcise thy heart, that thou may est 
love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." Death " \\\\\ 
sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean. 
From all your filthiness " death " wall cleanse you : " death 
" ^vill put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in 
my statutes ; and " when you are dead, " ye shall keep my 
judgments and do them." And if death was never so far 
honoured under the Mosaic dispensation, we ask, where 
he has been invested \\ith higher privileges under the 
gospel of Christ. Is it where St. Paul says, that " Christ 
hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality 
to light through the gospel ? " It appears to us, that it is an 
high degree of rashness in the Calvinists, and in the 



70 LAST CHECK 

Romanists, to appoint tlie pangs of death, and the sorrows 
of hell, to do the most difficult, and of consequence the 
most glorious, work of Christ's Spirit, which is powerfully 
to "redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify unto him- 
self a peculiar people," not full of all inbred unrighteous- 
ness, but " dead to sin, free from sin, pure in heart," and 
" zealous of good works." And we should think ourselves 
far more guilty of impertinence, if we nominated either 
death or hell to do the office of the final purifier of our 
hearts, than if we ordered a sexton to do the office of the 
prime minister, or an executioner to act as the king's phy- 
sician. With respect to salvation from the root, as well as 
from the branches, of sin, we will therefore know nothing, 
as absolutely necessary, " but Jesus Christ, and him cruci- 
fied," risen again, and ascended on high, that he might 
send the Holy Ghost to perfect us in love, through a 
" faith " that " purifies the heart," and through a " hope, 
which if any man hath, he will purify himself, even as 
God is pure." 

XXI. To conclude : if Christian perfection implies the 
perfect use of "the whole armour of God," what can 
be more absurd than the thought, that we shall be made 
perfect Christians in heaven or at death ? How will Mr. 
Hill prove that we shall perfectly use the helmet of hope, 
perfectly wield the shield of faith, and perfectly quench 
the fiery darts of the devil, in heaven, where faith, hope, 
and the devil's darts shall never enter ? Or, how will he 
demonstrate, that a soldier shall perfectly go through his 
exercise in the article of death, that is, in the very 
moment he leaves the army, and for ever puts off the 
harness ? 

Mr. Baxter wrote in the last century a vindication of 
holiness, which he calls " A Saint or a Brute." The title 
is bold, but all that can be said to defend iniquity cannot 
make me think it too strong ; so many are the arguments 
by which the scriptures recommend a holy life. And I 
own to thee, reader, that when I consider all that can be 
said in defence of Christian perfection, and all the absurdi- 
ties which clog the doctrine of Christian imperfection, I 
am inclined to imitate Mr. Baxter's positiveness, and to 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 71 

call this essay, " A perfect Christian in this -world, or a 
perfect dupe in the next." 



SECTION XIIT. 

The arguments of th e preceding section are produced 
to show the absurdity of Mr. Hill's doctrine of Christian 
imperfection ; those which follow are intended to prove the 
mischievousness of that modish tenet. 

I. It strikes at the doctrine of salvation by faith. 
" By grace are ye saved through faith," not only from the 
guilt and outward acts of sin, but also from its root and 
secret buds. " Xot of works," * says the apostle, " lest 
any man should " pharisaically " boast : " and may we not 
add, Xot of death, lest " he that had the power of death, 
that is, the devil, should " absurdly " boast ? " Does not 
what strikes at the doctrine of faith, and abridges the 
salvation A^hich we obtain by it, equally strike at Christ's 
power and glory ? Is it not the business of faith to re- 
ceive Christ's saving word, to apprehend the power of his 
sanctifying Spirit, and to inherit all the great promises by 
wliich " he saves his " penitent, believing " people from 
their sins ( " Is it not evident, that, if no believers can 
be '' saved from " indwelling " sin througli faith," we must 
correct the apostle's doctrine, and say, " By grace ye are 
saved " from the remains of sin through death ? And can 
unprejudiced protestants admit so Christ- debasing, so deuth- 



• IKti', and in some other places, St. Paul by "works " means only 
tlie deeds oi' a C'hristless, anti-mediatorial law, and the uliedience paid 
to the Jewish covenant, which is frequently called " the law," in oppo- 
fiition to the Christian covenant, which is commonly called " the gospel," 
that is, the gospel of Christ, because (Christ's gospel is the most excellent 
of all the gospel dispensations. The apostle, therefore, by the es- 
pres<inn, " not of works," does by no means exclude from final salvation 
" the law of faith,'* and the works done in obedience to that law ; for in 
the preceding verse he secures " the obedience of faith " when he says, 
" Vo arc saved," tliat is, made partakers of the blessings of the Chris- 
tian dispensation, " by grace through faith." Here, then, the word " by 
grace ' secures the first gospel axiom, and the word " through faith " 
secuves the second. 



72 LAST CHECK 

exafting a tenet without giving a dangerous blow to tlie 
genuine doctrines of the reformation ? 

II. It dishonours Christ, as a Prophet ; for, as such, he 
came to teach us to be now " meek and lowly in heart : " 
but the imperfect gospel of the day teaches, that we must 
necessarily continue passionate and proud in heart till 
death ; for pride and immoderate anger are, I apprehend, 
"two main branches of indwelling sin. Again : my motto 
demonstrates, that he publicly taught the multitudes the 
doctrine of perfection ; and Mr. Hill insinuates, that this 
doctrine is " shocking, not to say blasphemous." 

III. It disgraces Christ, as the Captain of our salvation. 
For St. Paul says, that our Captain furnishes us with 
*' weapons mighty through God to the pulling dow^n of 
Satan's strong-holds," and to the " bringing of every 
thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." But 
our opponents represent the devil's strong-holds as abso- 
lutely impregnable. No " weapons of our warfare " can 
pull down ApoUyon's throne. Inbred sin shall maintain 
its place in man's heart till death strike the victorious 
blow. Christ may, indeed, fight against the Jericho 
within, as " Joab fought against Rabbah of the children 
of Ammon ;" but then he must send for death, as Joab 
sent for David, saying, " I have fought against Jericho, 
and have taken the city of waters : now therefore gather 
the rest of the people together, and encamp against the 
city, and take it ; lest I take the city, and it be called after 
my name." 2 Sam. xii. 26 — 28. 

IV It pours contempt upon him as the Surety of the 
new covenant, in which God has engaged himself to deli- 
ver obedient believers " from their enemies, that they may 
serve him without " tormenting " fear all the days of their 
life ;" for, how does he do his office in this respect, if he 
never sees that such believers be delivered from their 
most oppressive and inveterate enemy, — indwelling sin ? 
Or, if that deliverance takes place only at death, how can 
they, in consequence of their death-freedom, " serve God 
w^ithout fear all the days of their life ?" 

V It affronts Christ, as a King, when it represents the 
believer's heart, which is Christ's spiritual throne, as 



TO ANTINOMIAXISM. 73 

being necessarily full of indwelling sin, — a spiritual rebel, 
•who, notwithstanding the joint efforts of Christ and the 
believer, maintains his ground against them both, during 
the term of life ? Again : does not a good king deliver 
his loyal subjects from oppression, and avenge them of a 
tyrannical adversary, when they cry to him in their dis- 
tress ? But does our Lord show himself such a king, if 
he never avenges them, or turns the usurper, the murderer, 
sin, out of their breast ? Once more : if our deliverance 
from sin depends upon the stroke of death, and not upon 
a stroke of Christ's grace, might we not call upon " the 
king of terrors," as well as upon " the King of saints," for 
deliverance from the remains of sin ? But where is the 
difference between saying, " O death, help us," and crying, 
" O Baal, save us ?" 

VI. It injures Christ, as a restorer of pure spiritual 
worship in God's spiritual temple, — the heart of man ; for 
it indirectly represents him as a pharisaic Saviour who 
made much ado about driving with a whip harmless 
sheep and oxen out of his Father's material temple, but 
gives full leave to satan, not only to bring sheep and 
doves into the believer's heart, but also to harbour and 
breed there, '' during term of life," the swelling toad, 
pride, and the hissing viper, envy, — to say nothing of the 
greedy dog, avarice, and the hlthy swine, impurity, — 
under pretinee of '"exercising the patience, and engaging; 
the industry," of the worshippers, if we may believe the 
Calvin of the day. See argument 1, section xiv., against 
Christian perftetioii. at the end of this section. 

A"II. It insults Christ, as a Priest ; for our JMelchizedek 
filled his all-eleansing blood upon the cross, and now pours 
liis all-availing prayer before the throne, asking that, 
upon evangelical terms, we may now be " cleansed from 
all unri;;hte()usness," and " perfected in one." But if ^\v. 
assert, that believers, let them be ever so faithful, can never 
be thus cleansed, and perfected in one, till death come to 
th.' Savii>ur's assistance, do we not place our Lord's cleans- 
ing blood, and powerful intercession, and, of consequence, 
his priesthood, in an unscriptural and contemptible light ? 
Should Mv. Hill attempt to retort this argument by 
Vol. v. e 



74 LAST CHECK 

saying, that " it is our doctrine, not his, which derogates 
from the honour of Christ's priesthood, because we should 
no longer need our High Priest's blood if we were cleansed 
from all sin ; " I reply, 

1. Perfect Christians need as much the virtue of 
Christ's blood, to prevent the guilt and pollution of sin 
from returning, as imperfect Christians want it to drive 
that guilt and pollution away. It is not enough that the 
blood of the true paschal Lamb has been sprinkled upon 
our souls to keep off the destroyer ; it must still remain 
there to hinder his coming back " with seven other spirits 
more wicked than himself." 2. Mr. Hill is in the dark : 
he calls for a light ; and when it is brought, he observes 
the darkness of his room is now totally removed. " Is it 
so, sir ? " replies his footman ; " then you need these wax- 
candles no more : if they have totally removed the dark- 
ness of your apartment, you have no more need of them." 
Mr. Hill smiles at the absurdity of his servant's argu- 
ment ; and yet it is well if he does not admire the 
wisdom of my opponent's objection. 3. The hearts of 
perfect Christians are cleansed and kept clean by faith ; 
and Christian perfection includes the perfection of Chris- 
tian faith, whose property it is to endear Christ and his 
blood more and more. Nothing, then, can be less rea- 
sonable than to say, that, upon our principles, perfect 
believers have done with the atoning blood. 4. Such 
believers continually " overcome the accuser of the 
brethren through the blood of the Lamb ;" there is no 
moment, therefore, in which they can spare it : they are 
feeble believers who can yet dispense with its constant 
application; and hence it is that they continue feeble. 
None make so much use of Christ's blood as perfect 
Christians. Once it was only their medicine, which they 
took now and then, when a fit of fear, or a pang of guilt, 
obliged them to it. But now it is the divine preserva- 
tive, which keeps off the infection of sin. Now it is the 
reviving cordial, which they take to prevent their grow- 
ing weary or faint in their minds. Now it is their daily 
drink. Now it is what they sprinkle their every thought, 
word, and work with. In a word, it is that blood which 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 



^'^ 



constantly speaks before God, and in their conscience, 
" better things than the blood of Abel," and actually pro- 
cures for them all the blessings which they enjoy or 
expect. To say, therefore, that the doctrine of Christian 
perfection supersedes the need of Christ's blood, is not less 
absurd than to assert, that the perfection of navigation 
renders the great deep an useless reservoir of water. 
Lastly : are not the saints before the throne perfectly 
sinless ? And Avho are more ready than they to extol the 
blood and sing the song of the Lamb ? — *' To Him that 
loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 
be glory," &c. If an angel preached to them the modern 
gospel, and desired them to plead for the remains of sin, 
lest they should lose their peculiar value for the atoning 
blood, would they not all suspect him to be an angel of 
darkness, transforming himself into an angel of light ? 
And shall we be the dupes of the tempter, who deceives 
good men, that they may deceive us by a similar argu- 
ment ? 

VIII. It discredits Christ, as the fulfiUer of the Fa- 
ther's promise, and as the sender of the indwelling, 
abiding Comforter, that our joy may be full ; for the 
S{iirit never takes his constant abode, as a comforter, in a 
heart full of indwelling sin. If he visits a sinful heart 
with his consolations, it is only as " a guest that tarrieth 
but a day." When he enters a soul fraught with inbred 
corruption, he rather acts as a reprover, than as a com- 
forter ; throwing down the tables of the spiritual monoy- 
c!iang( IS ; hindering the vessels which are not '• holiness 
unto the Lord " from being carricxl through God's s]»i- 
ritual temple ; and expelling, according to the degree of 
our faith, whatsoever would make God's house •' a den of 
tliicvcs." 

J3ut instoad of this, Mr. Hill's doctrine considers tlu- 
heart of believers as a den of lions, and represents Christ's 
Spirit, not as the destroyer, but as the keeper, of the wild 
beaxts and evil tempers which dwdl in our breasts. This 
I conclude from these words of the Rev. Mr, Topladv : 
" Thoy " (indwelling sin and unholy tempers) " do not 
quite expire, till the renewed soul is taken up from earth 



E 2 



76 LAST CHECK 

to heaven. In the mean time, these hated remains of 
depravity will, too often, like prisoners in a dungeon, cravs'l 
tovrards the window, though in chains, and show themselves 
through the grate. Nay, I do not know whether the 
strivings of inherent corruption for mastery he not fre- 
quently more violent in a regenerate person, than even in 
one who is dead in trespasses ; as wild beasts are some- 
times the more rampant and furious for being wounded." 
See Caveat against unsound Doctrines, page 54. When I 
read this gospel, I cannot but throw in a caveat against 
Mr. Toplady's caveat. For, if his is not " unsound," 
every body must allow it to be uncomfortable and unsafe. 
Who would not think it dreadfully dangerous to dwell 
with one wild beast that cannot be killed, unless we are 
first killed ourselves ? But how much more dangerous is 
it to be condemned to dwell for life with a parcel of them, 
which are not only immortal, so long as we are alive, but 
" are sometimes the more rampant and furious for being 
wounded!" The saviour preached by Mr. Toplady only 
wounds the Egyptian dragon, — the inward Pharaoh, and 
makes him rage ; but our Jesus drowns him in the sea of 
his own blood, barely by stretching out the rod of his 
power, when we stretch out to him our arms of faith. 
Mr. Hill's redeemer only takes Agag prisoner, as double- 
minded Saul did ; but our Redeemer hews him in pieces, 
as upright Sjunuel. The christ of the Calvinists says, 
" Confine the enemy, though he may possibly be fiercer 
than before ;" but ours thrusts out the enemy before us, 
and says, " Destroy." Deut. xxxiii. 27. O ye preachers 
of finished salvation, we leave it to your candour to 
decide which of these doctrines brings most glory to the 
saving name of Jesus. 

IX. The doctrine of our necessary continuance in 
indwelling sin to our last moments makes us naturally 
overlook or despise the " exceeding great and precious 
promises given unto us, that by these we might be partak- 
ers of the divine nature," (that is, of God's perfect holi- 
ness,) " having escaped the corruption that is in the world 
through lust." 2 Peter i. 4. And by that means it natu- 
rally defeats the full effect of evangelical truths and minis- 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 77 

terlal labours ; — an effect this, which is thus described by 
St. Paul : " Teaching every man in all wisdom, that we 
may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus," that is, 
perfect according to the richest dispensation of divine 
grace, which is the " gospel of Christ Jesus." Col. i. 28. 
Attain : '" The scripture is profitable for instruction in righ- 
teousness^ that the man of God may be perfect, throughly 
furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. Now, 
we apprehend that the perfection which throughly furnishes 
behevers unto all good works is a perfection productive of 
all the '-good works which are" evangelically, as well as 
providentially, " prepared that we should " walk in them 
before death ; because, whatever Mr. Hill may insinuate 
to the contrary in England, and father Walsh at Paris, 
the scripture says, " Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, 
do it with thy might ; for there is no work nor device " in 
death, that is, '" in the grave, w^hither thou goest." For as 
the tree falls, so it lies : if it fall full of rottenness, M'ith a 
brood of' vipers and a never-dying worm in its hollow 
centre, it will continue in that very condition ; and woe to 
the man who trusts that the pangs of death will kill the 
worm, or that a purgative fire will spare the rotten wood 
and consume the vipers ! 

X. It defeats, in part, the end of the gospel precepts, to 
tlie fulfilhng of which gospel promises are but a means. 
" All the law, the prophets," and the apostoHc Avritings, 
" hang on these two commandments : Thou shalt lore God 
with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself," through 
penitential faith in the light of thy dispensiition ; that is, 
in two words, Thou shalt be " evangelically perfect." Now, 
if we believe that it is absolutely impossible to be thus 
perfect by keeping these two blessed commandments in 
faith ; we cannot but believe, also, that God, who requires 
us to keep them, is defective in wisdom, equity, and good- 
ness, by requiring us to do Avhat is absolutely impossible : 
and we represent our church as a wicked stepmother 
which betrays all her children into the wanton commission 
of perjury, by requiring of every one of them, in the sacra- 
ment of baptism, a most solemn vow, by which they bind 
themselves, in the presence of God and of the congrega- 



78 XiAST CHECK 

tion, that they will " keep God's holy will and command- 
ments," that is, that they w^ill keep God's evangelical law, 
" and walk in the same all the days of their life." 

XI. It has a necessary tendency to unnerve our deepest 
prayers. How can we pray in faith, that God would help 
us to do his will " on earth as it is done in heaven ? " or 
that he would " cleanse the thoughts of our hearts that we 
may perfectly love him and worthily magnify his holy 
name ?" — how can we, I say, ask this in faith, if we dishe- 
lieve the very possibility of having these petitions answer- 
ed ? And what poor encouragement had Epaphras, upon 
the scheme which we oppose, " always to labour fervently 
for " the Colossians " in prayers, that they might stand 
perfect and complete in the will of God ;" or St. Paul, to 
wish that " the very God of peace " would " sanctify" the 
Thessalonians " wholly," and that their " whole spirit, and 
soul, and body, might be preserved blameless ; " if these 
requests could not be granted before death, and were una- 
voidably to be granted to them and to all believers in the 
article of death ? 

XII. It soothes lukewarm, unholy professors, and encou- 
rages them to sit quietly under the vine of Sodom, and 
under their own barren fig-tree ; I mean, under the bane- 
ful influence of their unbelief and indwelling sin ; nothing 
being more pleasing to the carnal mind than this syren 
song : " It is absolutely impossible that the thoughts of 
your hearts should be cleansed in this life. God himself 
does not expect that you should be purified from all iniquity 
on this side the grave. It is proper that sin should dwell 
in your heart by unbelief, to endear Christ to you, and so 
to ' work together for your good.' " The preachers of mere 
morality insinuate, that God does not forgive sins before 
death. This dangerous, uncomfortable doctrine damps the 
faith of penitents, who think it absurd to expect, before 
death, what they are taught they can only receive at death. 
And, as it is with the pardon of sins, so it is, also, with 
the cleansing from all unrighteousness. The preachers of 
Christian imperfection tell their hearers, that nobody 
can be cleansed from heart-sin before death. This new 
gospel makes them secretly trust in a death-purgatory, and 



TO ANTTNOMIANISM. 7i> 

hinders them from pleading, in faith, the promise of full 
sanctification before death stares them in the face ; -while 
others, like spared Agag, madly venture upon the spear of 
the king of terrors -\vith their hearts full of indwelling 
sin. The dead tell no tales now ; but it will be well if, in 
the day of the resurrection, those who plead for the neces- 
sary indwelling of sin during the term of life do nut 
meet in the great day with some deluded souls who will 
give them no thanks for betraying them to their last 
moments into the hands of indwelling sin, by insinu- 
ating that there can be no deliverance from our evil tem- 
pers before we are ready to exchange a death-bed for a 
coffin. 

XIII. It greatly discourages willing Israelites, and 
weakens the hands of the faithful spies, who want to lead 
feeble believers on, and to take by force the kingdom 
which consists in righteousness, peace, and joy in the 
Holy Ghost ; nothing being more proper to damp their 
ardour than such a speech as this : " You may strive 
iigaiust your corruptions and evil tempers as long as vou 
phase ; but you shall never get rid of them. The Jericho 
within is impregna])le : it is fenced up to heaven, and 
garrisoned 1)y the tall, invincible, immortal sons of Anak. 
So strong are these adversaries, that the twelve apostles. 
with the help of Christ and of the Holy (ihost, could 
never turn one of them out of his post. Nay, they so 
butfeted and overpowered St. Paul, the most zealous of the 
apostles, that ihey fairly took him prisoner, sold him under 
sin, and nia<le him groan to the last, ' < ) wretehed, carnal 
man that 1 am, who shall deliver me from the law ot ' 
my inbred corruptions, ' which bring me into captivity to 
the law of sin? I thank God,' through death, 'So then 
with the flesh' you must, as well as St. Paul, ' servi' the 
law of sin' till you die. Nor need you iVet at thes<- 
tidings ; for they are the pure gos})el of Christ, the genu 
ine doctrines of free grace and Christian liberty. In 
Christ you are free, but in yourselves you must continu<- 
to serve the law of sin : and, indeed, -why should you not 
do it ? since ' the sins of a Christian are for his good,' and 
* even the dung of a sheep of Christ is of some use ; nay, 



80 LAST CHECK 

of the most excellent use, if we believe Mr. Hill ; for the 
most grievous falls, — ^falls into repeated acts of adultery, 
and into deliberate murder, serve to make us know our 
place, to drive us nearer to Christ, and to make us sing 
louder the praises of restoring grace. Besides, that gen- 
tleman represents those who preach deliverance from 
indwelling sin before we go into a death-purgatory as men 
of a pharisaic cast ; blind men, who never saw their own 
hearts ; proud men, who oppose the righteousness of 
God ; vain men, who aspire at robbing Christ of the 
glory of being alone without sin ; in short, men who 
hold doctrines which are ' shocking, not to say blas- 
phemous.' " 

How would this speech damp our desires after salva- 
tion from indwelling sin ; how would it make us hug 
the cursed chains of our inbred corruptions, if the cloven 
foot of the imperfect, unchaste Diana, which it holds out 
to public view without gospel sandals, was not sufficient to 
shock us back from this impure gospel to the pure gospel 
of Jesus Christ ! And yet, if I am not mistaken, this dan- 
gerous speech only unfolds the scope of Mr. Hill's Creed 
for Perfectionists. 

XIV To conclude : the modish doctrine of Christian 
imperfection and death-purgatory is so contrived that 
carnal men will always prefer the purgatory of the Calvin- 
ists to that of the papists ; for the papists prescribe, I know 
not how many cups of divine wrath and dire vengeance, 
which are to be drunk by the souls of the believers who 
die half-purged or three-parts cleansed. These half- 
damned, or a quarter- damned, creatures must go through 
a severe discipline, and fiery salivation, in the very suburbs 
of hell, before they can be perfectly purified. But our 
opponents have found out a way to deliver half-hearted 
believers, out of all fear in this respect. Such believers 
need not utterly abolish the body of sin in this world. 
The inbred man of sin, not only may, but he shall, live as 
long as we do. You will possibly ask, ""What is to 
become of this sinful guest ? Shall he take us to hell, or 
shall we take him to heaven ? If he cannot die in this 
world, will Christ destroy him in the next?" No; here 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 81 

Christ is almost left out of the question by those who 
pretend to be determined to know nothing but Christ and 
him crucified. Our indwelling adversary is not destroyed 
by the brightness of the Redeemers spiritual appearing, 
but by the gloom of the appearance of death. Thus they 
have found another Jesus, another saviour from sin. 
The king of terrors comes to the assistance of Jesus's 
sanctifying grace, and instantaneously delivers the carnal 
believer from indwelling pride, unbelief, covetousness, 
peevishness, unchaiitableness, love of the world, and inor- 
dinate affection. Thus the clammy sweats brought on by 
the greedy monster kill, it seems, the tree of sin, of which 
the blood of Christ could only kill the buds. The dying 
sinner's breath does the capital work of the Spirit of holi- 
ness ; and, by the most astonishing of all miracles, the 
faint, infectious, last gasp of a sinful believer blows away, 
in the twinkling of an eye, the great mountain of inward 
corruption, which all the means of grace, all the faith, 
prayers, and sacraments of twenty, perhaps of forty, years, 
with all the love in the heart of our Zerubbabel, all the 
blood in his veins, all the power in his hands, and all the 
faithfulness in his breast, were never able to remove. If 
this doctrine is true, how greatly was St. Paul mistaken 
when he said, " The sting of death is sin," &c. : " thanks 
be to God who giveth us the victory through Christ our 
Lord ! " Should he not have said, " Death is the cure 
of sin," instead of saying, ^' Sin is the sting of death V 
And should not his praises flow thus? — "Thanks be to 
God Avho giveth us the victory through death," our great 
and only deliverer from our greatest and fiercest enemy, 
indwelling sin. 



SECTION XIV 



TuE pleasing effect of the lights in a picture is con- 
siderably heightened by the bold opposition of strong 
shades. If the preceding arguments are the lights by 
which we hope agreeably to strike the mental eyes of the 

E 5 



82 LAST CHECK 

reader who candidly considers the doctrine of Christian 
perfection ; it will not be improper to heighten those lights 
by the amazing contrast of the arguments which our oppo- 
nents advance in defence of indwelling sin and Christian 
imperfection. These arguments appear to us, shades, — 
bold, logical shades : but the bolder they are, the more they 
will set off the lustre of the truth which we recommend ; 
for, if " all things work for good to them that love God," 
why should not all the errors of others work for good to 
them that love the truth ? I am abundantly furnished 
with the erroneous shades I want by three of the most 
approved authors, who support the ark of the imperfect 
gospel, the Rev. Mr. Toplady, author of the Historic Proof 
of Calvinism ; the Rev. Mr. Martin, author of several tracts 
which are esteemed by the Calvinists ; and the Rev. Mr, 
Henry, famous for his voluminous exposition of the bible. 
The first of these authors, in his Caveat against unsound 
Doctrine, intimates that there never were on earth but 
three persons possessed of the sinless perfection which 
we contend for, — Adam, Eve, and Jesus Christ: a bold 
intimation this, which, like the babel I attack, has its 
foundation in confusion ; in the confusion of three per- 
fections which are entirely different, — the paridisiacal, 
sinless perfection of our first parents ; the mediatorial, 
sinless perfection of Jesus Christ ; and the Christian, evan- 
gelically-sinless perfection of St. John. This intimation 
is supported by some passages firom Solomon, which have 
been already considered in section xi., and by the follow- 
ing argument : — 

First Argument. — " A person of the amplest fortune 
cannot help the harbouring of snakes, toads, &c., on his 
lands ; but they will breed, and nestle, and crawl about 
his estate, whether he will or no. All he can do is to 
pursue and kill them whenever they make their appear- 
ance ; yet let him be ever so vigilant and diligent, there 
will always be a succession of those creatures to exercise 
HIS patience, and engage his industry. So it is with the 
true believer in respect of indwelling sin." Caveat against 
unsound Doctrine, page 54. To this we answer : — 

1. From the clause which I produce in capitals in this 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 83 

argument, one would think that patience and industry 
cannot be properly exercised without indwelling sin. If 
so, does it not follow, that our Lord's patience and indus- 
try always wanted proper exercise, because he was always 
perfectly free from indwelling sin ? We are of a differ- 
ent sentiment with respect to our Lord's Christian virtues ; 
and we apprehend, that the patience and industry of the 
most perfect believer will always, without the opposition 
of indwelling sin, find full exercise in doing and suffering 
the whole will of God ; in keeping the body under, in 
striving against the sin of others, in testifying by word 
and deed that the works of the world are evil, in resisting 
the numberless temptations of him who " goes about as a 
roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour ;" and in pre- 
paring to conflict with the king of terrors. 

2. Why could not assiduous vigilance clear an estate 
of snakes, as one of our kings cleared Great Britain of 
wolves ? Did he not attempt and accomplish what 
appeared impossible to less resolute minds? Mr. Top- 
lady is too well acquainted with the classics not to know 
what the heathens themselves have said of industry and 
love : — 

Omnia vincit amor. 
Labor improbus omnia vincit. 

If " love and incessant labour overcome the greatest 
difficulties," what cannot a diligent believer do who is 
animated by the love of God, and feels that he " can do 
all things through Christ, Avho strengtheneth him ?" 

3. But the capital flaw of Mr. Toplady's argument con- 
sists in so considering the weakness of free will, as entirely 
to leave God, and the sanctifying power of his Spirit, out 
of the question. That g(mtleraan forgets, that " for this 
purpose the Son of God" (who is " Lord God omnipo- 
tent ") " was manifested, that he might destroy the works 
of the devil." Nor does he consider, that a worm, assisted 
by omnipotence itself, is capable of the greatest achieve- 
ments. Of tbis we have an illustrious instance in Moses, 
with respect to the removal of the lice, the frogs, and the 
locusts : " iMoses entreated the Lord, and the Lord turned 



84 LAST CHECK 

a miglity strong west wind, which took away the locusts, 
and cast them into the Red Sea ; there remained not one 
locust in all the coasts of Egypt." Exodus x. 19. If Mr. 
Toplady had not forgot the mighty God with whom 
Moses and believers have to do, he would never have sup- 
posed, that the comparison holds good between Christ 
cleansing the thoughts and heart of a praying believer by 
the inspiration of his Holy Spirit, and a man who can by 
no means destroy the snakes and toads that breed, nestle, 
and crawl about his estate. 

4. The reverend author of the Caveat sinks, in this 
argument, even below the doctrine of heathen moralists. 
For, suppose the extirpation of a vicious habit were con- 
sidered, would not an heathen be inexcusable if he over- 
looked the succour and inspiration of the Almighty ? 
And what shall we say of a gospel minister who, writing 
upon the destruction of sin, entirely overlooks what, at 
other times, he calls the "sovereign, matchless, all-con- 
quering, irresistible" power of divine grace, which, if we 
believe him, is absolutely to do all in us and for us ? who 
insinuates, that the toad — pride, and the viper — envy, 
must continue to nestle and crawl in our breasts for want 
of ability to destroy them ; and who concludes, that the 
extirpation of sin is impossible because we cannot bring 
it about by our own strength ? Just as if the power of 
God, which helps our infirmities, did not deserve a 
thought ! Who does not see, that when a divine argues 
in this manner, he puts his bushel upon the light of 
Christ's victorious grace, hides this sin-killing and heart- 
cleansing light, and then absurdly concludes, that the 
darkness of sin must necessarily remain in all believers ? 
Thus, if I mistake not, it appears that Mr. Toplady 's 
argument in favour of the death -purgatory is contrary to 
history, experience, and gentilism ; and how much more 
to Christianity, and to the honour of him who to the 
uttermost saves his believing people from their heart-toads 
and bosom-vipers, when they go to him for this great 
salvation ! 

The next author who shall furnish me with logical 
shades is the ingenious and rev. Mr. Martin, who has 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 85 

just published a plea for the necessary indwelling of sin 
in all believers. He calls it, " The Christian's peculiar 
Conflict, an Essay on Galatians v. 17 j" and from it I 
extract the arguments -which follow : — 

Second Argument. — " O, ye vain boasters of inherent 
perfection, say, where is the man among you to be found, 
who always doeth the things that he would ? If there be 
one who has this pre-eminence above his brethren, why 
should his name be concealed ? Is he a preacher ? and 
dare he assert he has at all times that discovery of the 
truth to his own soul he could wish ?" &c. " Is he a pri- 
vate Christian? and will he venture to declare, that in 
every character he sustains," &c., " he continually acts not 
only the conscientious part, but in every respect fulfils 
the desire of his mind ? What ! does he hesitate ? Is 
he afraid to attest this in the presence of an heart-search - 
ins: God ? How deceitful then is his confidence ! " Sic. 
" Stranjie infatuation ! if he caimot at all times do the 
things, the good things, that he w^ould, can he suppose his 
l)est desires are more extensive than that law which is 
exceeding broad ? " S:c. '' If he can be so vain as to suppose 
this, there is more hope of a fool than of him who is so 
wise in his own conceit. If he disowns the inference, and 
yet maintains his premises that he is perfect, — that is, he 
is without sin, lie has ceased to commit iniquity, — what is 
the conclusion ? I am obliged to conclude, that perfection 
and imperfection, things as contrary to each other as light 
and darkness;, are, with such a deluded person, considered 
a5 one and the same thing." Page 1.1, &c. 

This argument, stripped of its rhetorical ornaments, and 
put into a plain logical dress, runs thus : — 

^ When Christians do not do all the good things which 
they desire to do, they sin, or break God's law, which is 
purer and broader than their desires; but the best min- 
isters, and the best private Christians, do not do all the 
good things which they desire to do ; and therefore the 
best ministers and the best private Christians sin, and 
their sinless perfection is an empty boast." AVe may 
bring the argument into a still narrower compass, thus : 
" All short-comings are sinful, and therefore inconsistent 



86 LAST CHECK 

with every kind of perfection." Now, this proposition, 
which is the basis of the whole argument, has error for 
its foundation. Granting that short -comings are incon- 
sistent with the absolute will of God, and with the per- 
fection of his boundless power, I afl&rm four things, each 
of which, if I mistake not, overturns our objector's argu- 
ment : — 

1. The separate " spirits of just men made perfect" are 
perfectly sinless ; nevertheless, they " do not do" all " the 
things that they would," for they have not yet prevailed 
to get the blood of God's martyrs avenged ; a display of 
justice this which they ardently wish for ; and I prove 
it by these words of St. John : " I saw under the altar the 
souls of them that were slain for the word of God : and 
they cried with a loud voice, saying. How long, O Lord, 
holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood 
on them that dwell on the earth ?" Rev. vi. 9, 10. Had 
they done what they wished, — that is, actually prevailed with 
God, — their prayer would have been immediately turned 
into praises, and persecutors would long ago have been 
rooted out from the earth. 

2. For want of infinite wisdom, does not perfect love in 
finite creatures frequently desire to do more for its object 
than it can ? When Michael fought with the dragon, is 
it not highly probable that he lovingly desired to hinder 
his cruel adversary from doing any farther mischief? 
But did not his performance fall short of his pious, 
resigned desire ? May not this be said also of the guard- 
ian care of the angels who minister to the heirs of salva- 
tion ? Do these loving spirits afford us all the help, or 
procure us all the bliss, which their tender compassion 
prompts them to wish us ? If not, is it not absurd to 
suppose, that, barely on this account, they are sinfully 
imperfect ? Nay, would it not be a high degree of rash- 
ness and injustice to insinuate, that they are transgressors 
of God's spiritual law ; and that his commandment, which 
is broader than their desires, is broken by their not doing 
us all the good which they desire to do us, and which 
they would actually do us, if a wise Providence had not 
set bounds to their commission ? Does not this unscrip- 



TO AMINOMIANISM. 87 

tural, Calvinian legality put the stamp of sinfulness upon 
all angels and archangels, merely to keep in countenance 
the antinomian doctrine of the necessary sinfulness of all 
believers ? 

3. If we consider our Lord himself as a man, did he do 
all the good he would while he was upon earth ? Did 
he preach as successfully as his perfect love made him 
desire to do ? If he had all the success he desired in his 
ministry, why did he look round upon his hearers " with 
anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts ?" 
Why did he weep and complain, " How often would I 
have gathered you," Sec, "and ye would not?" Were 
even his private instructions so much blessed to his ovm 
disciples as he could have wished ? If they were, what 
meant these strange expostulations ? — " How is it that 
ye have no faith ?" " Faithless generation, how long shall 
I be with you?" "Hast thou been so long with me, 
Philip, and yet hast thou not known me ?" '" Will ye 
also go away ? " 

Nay, had not Christ his innocent infirmities too ? Did 
he not shudder at the prospect of the cup of trembling ? 
Needed he not the strengthening support of '' an angel " 
in the garden of Gethsemane ? Did he not " offer up 
prayers with strong cryings and tears, unto him that was 
able to save him from death ?" AVas he not ''iK-ard in 
that he feared?" Ileb. v. 7- Did he not innocently cry 
out upon the cross, '' My God ! my (lud ! why hast thou 
forsaken me ?" And does not the apostle observe, that 
" we have not an hi^'h priest who cannot be touched 
with the feeling of our infirmities; but" one who "was 
in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin ?" Heb. 
iv. 1"). When our opponents, therefore, confound sin 
with natural, innocent infirmities, or with our not doing 
all the good we would, do they not inadvertently fix a 
blot upon the immaculate character of Him who could 
say, '■ Which of you convinceth me of sin ?" 

4, My pious opponent wishes, no doubt, to praise God 
as perfectly as an angel ; whilst an angel probably desires 
to do it as completely as an archangel ; but in the nature 
of things this cannot be. Thousands of God's moral 



88 LAST CHECK 

vessels, which are perfect in their place and degree, and as 
such adorn God's universal temple, fall short of each 
other's perfection, without being sinfully imperfect on that 
account. When deficiencies are natural, and not moral, 
if we call them " sin," in many cases we charge God with 
the creation of sin. Nor is it any more sin in a man, not 
to magnify God so vigorously as an angel, or in an angel 
not to serve his Creator so perfectly as an archangel, than 
it is a sin in a good soldier not to do the king such excel- 
lent service as an experienced captain, or a consummate 
general. In the moral world, as well as in the natural, " one 
star " may " differ from another star in glory," without the 
least disparagement to its peculiar perfection. The inju- 
dicious refinements of Calvinism make a confused jumble 
of God's works, as they do of God's truths, and of the 
various perfections which belong to the various classes of 
his children ; but a wise dispenser of the word will do by 
those various truths and perfections as Joseph did by his 
brothers : " he placed them, the firstborn according to his 
birthright," or superiority, " and the youngest according to 
his youth," or inferiority. 

5. We are not ashamed to assert, that perfection in one 
respect, and imperfection in another respect, may consist- 
ently meet in the same subject ; or, that men and things 
may be perfect in one sense and imperfect in another. If 
our opponents ridicule us for it, we will present them with 
an ocular, and by no means " metaphysical," demonstration 
of their mistake. Two perfect grains, the one of barley, 
and the other of wheat, lie before us. I say, with the 
perfectionists, that " the grain of barley is perfect in its 
kind ; but imperfect, or inferior in excellence, when it is 
compared to the grain of wheat." But Mr. Martin, at the 
head of the imperfectionists, thinks me deluded, and 
placing himself in his judgment-seat, gravely says, " I am 
obliged to conclude, that perfection and imperfection, 
things as contrary to each other as light and darkness, are 
with such a deluded person considered as one and the 
same." " Some are so unaccountably absurd and ridicu- 
lous." Reader, thou art judge and jury. Pronounce 
which of the two deserve best this imputation of " un- 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 89 

accountable absurdity," — the author of this essay, or that 
of the essay on Gal. v. 17. 

6. AVith respect to this gentleman's triumphant ques- 
tion, " Where is the " perfect " man ? AVhy should his 
name be concealed ? " I hope it has already been satis- 
factorily answered in section iv., argument 12. To what 
is advanced there, I add here the following remark : — 
Inveterate prejudice is blind. If it " believe not " reason, 
'• Moses, the prophets," and the apostles, "neither would " 
it " be persuaded though one rose from the dead." And 
were we to point at a person as perfect as Jesus of Naza- 
reth, and to say, " Behold the man," I should not wonder 
if the prepossessed professors cried out, as some ancient 
engrossers of orthodoxy did, " He is a deceiver of the 
people, teaching" perfection "throughout all Jewry." 
And if they did not say, " He is the friend of publicans 
and sinners, away with him ; " it is not improbable they 
would say, " He is a friend of the pharisees and Armini- 
ans, why do you hear him? Would ye also be his 
disciples ? " It is in vain to hope, that prejudice expired 
with those who scoffed at perfection incarnate, and spit in 
the face of Jesus Christ ; " thinking to do God " and the 
Messiah " service." Man is man in London, as well as in 
Jerusalem. Our author goes on : — 

Third Argument. — " It is not more essential to those 
who are partakers of the grace of God in truth, to desire 
this," the destruction of sin, " than it is for every creature, [ 
as such, to desire an exemption from pain and shame." 
Then follows a dimgerous insinuation, that we must say 
by the cup of indwelling sin, as our Saviour did by the 
cup of pain and shame, " The cup that my Father giveth 
me, shall I not drink it ? " Page 18. 

^Vnswer. — Never was a cup of subtle poison more art- 
fully mixed : and that the reader may not suspect any 
mischief, the author borrows the very cup which our hea- 
venly Father presented to Christ in the garden of Geth- 
seinane ; a cup of pain and shame. Reader, examine this 
cup before thou drink it. Death is in it. Pour out the 
new wine which makes the poison it contains palatable, 
and at the bottom thou wilt find this mortal sediment, — " It 



90 LAST CHECK 

is as absurd absolutely to desire deliverance from sin in 
this life, as absolutely to desire deliyerance from pain and 
shame." To di scover t h^-falseboodjafjjiis proposition, we 
need only weigh the following remarks : — mian mixed 
for himself the moral cup of sin ; and God, to punish him, 
mixed the natural cup of pain and shame. 2. It is ex- 
cessively wrong so to confound moral and natural evil, as 
to say, that, because we cannot with any propriety 
absolutely pray for deliverance from all natural evil in this 
life, we ought not absolutely to ask and expect deliverance 
from all moral evil before death. 3. When the imper- 
fectionists confound the moral cup of sin with the natural 
cup of shame and pain, they are as grossly mistaken, as if 
they confounded poison and counter -poison ; sin, and its 
punishment ; the murderer's revengeful heart, and the 
gallows on which he is hanged. 4. Shame and pain, 
when they are appointed for the trial of faith, 
and endured for righteousness' sake, compose the 
last and greatest of all the beatitudes ; a beatitude this, 
of which our Lord drank so deeply, when " for the joy 
that was set before him, he endured the pain," and 
" despised the shame," of the " cross." Heb. xii. 2. But 
where was indwelling sin ever ranked among the ingredi- 
ents which compose the beatitudes, that our opponents 
should thus confound it with pain and shame ? 5. AVhen 
they insinuate, that we must bear with sin as patiently as 
with pain and shame, and drink the moral cup of in- 
dwelling iniquity as readily as the natural cup of outward 
affliction, do they not grossly confound "the cup of 
devils" with the " cup of the Lord," and make the simple 
believe, that, because we must patiently drink the 
latter with Christ, we must also patiently drink the 
former with Belial ? The Captain of our salvation bids us 
" rejoice and be exceeding glad," when we patiently suffer 
pain and shame for righteousness' sake : therefore, abso- 
lutely to deprecate all pain and shame would be to pray 
against our " exceedingly great joy," yea, against our 
"reigning with Christ;" for, "if we suffer, we shall also 
reign with him." But where does Christ bid us " rejoice 
and be exceeding glad" when we are full of indwelling sin ? 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 91 

Or where does lie promise that if we harhour indwelling 
sin, " we shall also reign with him ? " Christians, awake ! 
We pour out this rank poison before you. that you may 
advert to its oiFensive smell. "While rash solifidians 
gather it up, as if it were the honey of Canaan, boldly 
trample it under foot, and be ye more and more persuaded, 
that righteousness, Calvinistically imputed, and indwelling 
sin, are the two arms in w^hich the Delilah of the imper- 
fectionists clasps her deluded admirers. 

Page 31, our ingenious author proposes an important 
question. " If the grace of God," says he, " be so abund- 
ant as the scriptures represent it, and the scripture cannot 
be broken ; why are believers permitted to struggle so 
long for that victory they cannot yet obtain ? " that victoryj 
which death is to bring them ? " "Whence is it that they* 
who pant for perfect purity should not immediately obtain 
a request so desirable ? " For our author lays it down as an 
undoubted truth, that " flesh and spirit mutually lust, desire 
and strive to obtain a complete conquest, but at present," 
that is, in this life, " neither can prevail." Page 26. 

This important question Ave answer thus : — Imperfect 
Christians do not attain perfect purity of heart : 1 . Be- 
cause they do not see the need of it, because they still 
hug some accursed thing, or because the burden of in- 
dwelling sin is not yet become intolerable to them. They 
make shift to bear it yet, as they do the toothache, when 
they are still loath to have a rotten tooth pulled out. 
2. If they are truly willing to be made clean, they do not 
yet believe that the Ijord both can and Avill make them clean; 
or that "now is the day of" this "salvation." And, as 
faith inherits the })romisos of (rod, it is no wonder if their 
unbelief misses this portion of their inheritance. 3. If 
they have some faith in the ])romise, that the Lord can 
and " will circumcise " their " hearts, that " they " may 
love him with all their hearts;" yet it is not that kind or 
degree of faith, which makes them completely willing to 
sell all, to deny themselves, faithfully to use their inferior 
talent, and to continue instant in prayer for this very 
blessing. In short, " they have not, because they ask 
not," which is the case of the Laodicean iraperfectionists ; 



92 LAST CHECK 

or " because they ask amiss," which is the case of the im- 
perfect perfectionists. 4. Frequently also they will receive 
God's blessing in their own preconceived method, and not 
in God's appointed way. Hence God suspends the 
operation of his sanctifying Spirit, till they humbly confess 
their obstinacy and false wisdom, as well as their unbelief 
and want of perfect love. Thus we clear our Sanctifier, 
and take the shame of our impurity to ourselves. Not so 
our opponents. They exculpate themselves, and insinuate, 
that God has appointed the necessary continuance of in- 
dwelling sin in us for life, that the conflict which we 
maintain with that enemy may answer excellent ends. 
Their arguments, collected in the above-quoted essay, are 
produced and answered in the following pages. 

Fourth Argument. — " By this warfare the Lord 
manifests and magnifies himself to his people ; and, if I 
am not mistaken," &c., " the continuance of it is a mean 
by which beUevers have such views of the perfections and 
glory of God, as do not seem to us probable they could 
here obtain without it." Then our author instances in 
God's " unchanging love towards the elect," and in his 
" sovereign grace " " that reigns through righteousness to 
the salvation of the guilty." He next observes, that 
" those believers who are most conscious of this internal 
conflict, most sensible of the power and prevalency of 
indwelling sin, are most thankful that the endearing decla- 
rations " of God's " distinguishing love are true." Page 37, 
&c. And we are indirectly told, the doctrine of the necessary 
continuance of indwelling sin magnifies " the power and 
patience of God ; the power of God to support us under 
this conflict, and his patience in bearing with our manifold 
weakness and ingratitude." For, great as the burden 
of our ingratitude is, " yet ' he fainteth not, neither is he 
weary.' " Pages 39, 40. 

This is an extract of our author's argument, which, like 
a snake, works its way through verbose windings, where I 
have not leisure to follow it. Crush this snake, and out 
mil come this less viper : — The longer sin continues in us, 
the more God's sovereign love, grace, power, and patience, 
hj which he saves guilty, weak, and ungrateful sinners, is 



TO AXTINOMIANISM. 93 

manifested to us. Or, if you please, The longer we con- 
tinue in sin, or the longer sin continues in us, the more isi 
grace manifested and magnified. Or, if you -will speak as 
the apostolic controvertist, Let us " continue in sin, that 
grace may abound ; " a notion this which is the very soul 
of antinomianism unmasked. 

To fill the pious reader with a just detestation of this 
doctrine, I need only unfold it thus : If the continuance 
of indwelling sin magnifies God's sovereign grace and 
patience in saving ungrateful sinners, the continuance of 
outward sin will do this much more ; for, the greater our 
outward sins are, the greater will God's patience appear 
in hearing with us, and his grace in forgiving us ; " seeing 
he fainteth not, neither is " he " weary." Thus we are 
come almost to the top of antinomianism ; and, to reach 
the highest step of the fatal ladder, we need only declare, 
as the author of the Five Letters has done, that "a grievous 
fall " into sin, which he has instanced in adultery, robbery, 
murder, and incest, " will make us sing louder to the 
praise of restoring grace throughout all the ages of eter- 
nity." See the fourth of those letters. Now, if a grievous 
fall will infallibly have that happy effect, it follows, that 
ten such falls will multiply ten times the display of God's 
power and patience. What a boundless field opens here, 
to run an antinomian race, and to enlarge ^ur wickedness 
as hell ! What a ladder is here lent us to descend to the 
depth of tlie abomination of desolation, in order to reach 
the loudest notes of praise in heaven ! If this solifidian 
gosp( 1 is not one of the depths of satan, and the greatest 
too, I am not capable of discerning midnight gloom from 
noon -day brifrhtncss. 

Fifth ArgumexNT. — "To save the guilty in such a 
manner as," &c., "efleetiULlIy to humbk; them who are 
saved, displays the manifold wisdom of God. Does it not 
seem necessary, to attain that great end, to make believers\" 
experimentally know Avliat an evil and bitter thing ' 
sin is V Sec. " If so, when can the objects of salvation 
see this with l>ecoming shame and soitoav?" Not while 
they are " in the gall of bitterness," &c. ; " for in that state 

so abominable is man, that he drinketh in iniquity like 



94 LAST CHECK 

water.' On tlie other hand, this cannot be after they are 
brought to glory ; for then, all the painful and shameful 
memorials 6f sin will be finally removed. It must be 
Avhile flesh and spirit dwell in the same man." Page 41. 

Granted : but what has this argument to do with the 
question ? Did we ever deny that, as long as we live, 
we must repent, or be deeply conscious what an evil 
and bitter thing sin is? The question is, whether in- 
dwelling sin is an incentive to true repentance ; and 
whether God has appointed that this supposed incentive 
should remain in our hearts till death, lest we should 
forget " what an evil and bitter thing sin is," or lest we 
should not remember it " with becoming shame and 
sorrow ?" The absurdity of this plea has already been 
exposed in section iii., objections 8, 9. And, to the argu- 
ments there advanced, I now add those which follow : — 

1. Does not experience convince imperfect believers, that 
the more fretfulness, self-will, and obstinacy they have in 
their hearts, the less they do repent ? How absurd is it then 
to suppose, that the remains of these evil dispositions will 
help them to feel " becoming shame and sorrow" for sin ! 

2. Do not our opponents tell their hearers, that we get 
more " becoming shame and sorrow by looking one moment 
at Him whom we have pierced, than by poring upon our cor- 
ruptions for an hour?" If so, why will they plead for indwell- 
ing sin, that " becoming shame and sorrow" may abound ? 
And why do they pretend, that they exalt Christ more 
than we, who maintain, that our most " becoming shame 
and" deepest " sorrow" flow from his ignominy and suffer- 
ings, and not from our indwelling sin and conflicting 
corruptions ? Did not Job " abhor himself, and repent 
in dust and ashes," when he saw his redeeming God by 
faith, much more than when he just kept his head above 
the bitter waters of impatience and murmuring ? 

3. The pleaders for the continuance of indwelling sin 
tell us, " that, as the sight and attacks of a living and 
roaring lion will make us dread lions more than all the 
descriptions and pictures which represent their destructive 
fierceness ; so the feeling the onsets of indwelling sin will 
make us abhor sin more than all the descriptions of its 



TO ANTINOMIAXISM. 05 

odious nature, and the accounts of its fearful conse- 
quences ; because a burnt child naturally dreads the fire." 
To this we answer : A burnt child who pleads for the 
keeping of a burning coal upon his breast, to make hira 
dread the fire, has hitherto been burned to little purpose. 
"Who had ever less to do with indwelling sin and its 
cursed attacks, than the holy Jesus and faithful angels ? 
and yet, who is more filled with a perfect abhorrence of all 
iniquity ? On the other hand, who has been more dis- 
tracted and longer torn by indwelling sin, than the devil ? 
and who, nevertheless, is better reconciled to it ? Or 
who is more plagued by the continual rendings and 
bitings of the lions and vipers within, than those passion- 
ate, revengeful people who say, wdth all the positiveness 
of Jonah and Alisalom, " I do well to be angry," and, 
Revenge is sweet ? Experience, therefore, demonstrates 
the inconclusiveness of this argument. 

4. If the penitent thief properly learned in a few hours 
" what an evil and bitter thing" external and intenial 
" sin is ;" is it not absurd to suppose, that he must have 
continued forty years full of indwelling sin to learn that 
lesson, if God had added forty years to his life ? AVould 
this delay have been to the honour of his divine Teacher ? 

Lastly : when Christ cast seven devils out of ^lary 
Magdalene, did he have one or two devils behind, to 
teach her "' becoming shame and sorrow" for sin? And 
was it these two remaining diabolonians that made her 
dissolve in tears at Christ's feet, or the grateful, peniten- 
tial love which she felt lor her gracious Deliverer ? Is it 
not astonishing that gospel ministers should so far forget 
themselves and their Saviour, as to teach, as openly as for 
decency they dare, that we must fetch our tears of godly 
sorrow from the infernal lake, and rekindle the candle of 
rei>entance at the fire of hell ? and that the fanning 
breath of the Spirit, and the golden, hallowed snuffers 
of the sanctuary, cannot make that candle burn conti- 
nually clear, unless we use, to the end of our life, the 
black finger of satan, — indwelling sin ; and Adam's 
accursed extinguisher, — original corruption ? 

Sjxtu Argu.ment. — Our author's next argument in 



96 LAST CHECK 

favour of the necessary indwelling of sin during life is 
more decent, and, consequently, more dangerous. The 
cloven feet of error delicately wear the sandals of truth ; 
but, with a little attention, we shall soon see that they 
are only borrowed or stolen. The argument abridged 
from page 44, and rendered more perspicuous, may run 
thus : " If we have frequently been slothful, and have 
not at all times exerted our abilities to the uttermost, 
why may not God in wisdom rebuke us for it, and make 
us sensible of that evil by not permitting us to effect what 
at other times we seem determined, if possible, to accom- 
plish ? " that is, by not permitting us utterly to abolish 
the Avhole body of sin ? " If Samson abuse his strength, 
it is fit he should have cause severely to reflect on his 
folly by being deprived of it for a season, and become as 
weak as other men." Here we are left to infer, that as 
Samson, through his unfaithfulness, became " as weak as 
other men" for a season, so all believers, on account of 
their unfaithfulness, must be weakened by indwelling sin 
during the term of life. 

To this we answer : I. That although believers fre- 
quently give place to sloth and unfaithfulness, yet they 
are no more necessitated to do it than Samson was to 
dall}^ with Delilah. 2. If the constant indwelling of sin 
is a just punishment for not making a proper use of the 
talent of grace which God gives us, it evidently follows, 
that our unfaithfulness, and not a necessity appointed by 
God, is the very worm which destroys our evangelically- 
sinless perfection ; and the moment our opponents grant 
this, they allow all that we contend for, unless they 
should be able to prove, that God necessitates us to be 
unfaithful, in order to punish us infallibly with indwelling 
sin for life. 

As for Samson, he is most unfortunately brought in to 
support the doctrine of the necessary indwelling of that 
weakening sin, which we call " inbred corruption ;" and 
he might be most happily produced to encourage those 
unfaithful believers who, like him, have not made a pro^ 
per use of their strength in time past ; for he outlived hig 
penal weakness, and recovered the strength of a perfect 



TO a::tixomiamsm. 97 

Xazaiite before death ; witness his last achievement, 
■which exceeded all his former exploits. For it would be 
highly absurd to suppose, that he got in a death -purgatory 
the amazing strength by which he pulled dow^n the pillars 
that supported the large building where the Philistines 
feasted. Xor need I the strength of a logical Samson to 
break the argumentative reeds which support the temple 
of error, in which the imperfectionists make sport to their 
hurt with the doctrine of that Christian Samson who 
said, ■' I can do all things through Christ that strength- 
eneth me." 

Seventh Argument. — We are indirectly told, — for pious 
men cannot utter gross antinomianism without the mask 
of circumlocution, — that indw^elling sin must continue in 
us, that '" grace may not only be exercised, but distin- 
guished from all that has only the appearance of it. But 
how is the true grace of God to be here distinguished 
from that which is but the semblance of it? By its 
effects, a clear and spiritual discovery of the depravity, 
deceit, and desperate wickedness of our ow^n hearts." 
Page 47, &c. And then we are given to understand, 
that, lest we should not be deeply convinced of that des- 
perate wickedness, the continuance of indwelling sin is 
absolutely necessary. This argument runs into the fifth, 
which I have already answered. It is another indirect 
plea for the continuance of outward adultery and murder, 
as wtII as for the continuance of indwelling sin ; it being 
certain that outward adultery, &c., w^ill convince us of the 
desperate wickedness of our hearts, still more powerfully 
than heart-adultery, &:c. To what hard shifts are good 
men put when they fight for tlie continuance of the bud 
or root of any sin ! Their every stroke for sin is a stal) 
at the very vitals of godliness. 

Eighth Argument. — The continuance of indAvelling 
sin, whicli is, with great modesty in the ingenious author, 
and therefore with grout danger to the uuAvary reader, 
called " this w^arfare," is supported by the following rea- 
son : " It is often an occasion to discover the strength of 
gi'ace received, as ■well as the truth of it." Page 48, Sec. 
This argument is all of a piece with the preceding, and 
Vol. v. f 



98 LAST CHECK 

puts me in mind of a speech which a shameless young 
debauchee made once to me : " I kept," said he, " drink- 
ing and dozing in such a tavern without ever going to bed, 
or being ever sober one hour, for twenty-three days. I 
never had so remarkable an occasion to discover the 
strength of my body, and the excellence of my constitu- 
tion." However, in a few months, while he continued in 
the "occasion to discover his strength/' a mortal disorder 
seized upon him, and, by removing him into eternity, 
taught me, that if Fulsome the professor speaks the truth 
when he says, " Once in grace, always in grace ;" Nabal 
the sot was mistaken when he hinted, " Once in health, 
always in health." To make the imperfectionists ashamed 
of this argument, I hope I need only observe : 1. That 
nothing ever showed more the strength of grace than the 
conflicts which the man Christ Jesus went through, 
though he never conflicted a moment with indwelling sin. 
2. That the strength and excellence of a remedy is much 
better discovered by the removal of the disorder which it 
is designed to cure, than by the conflicts which the poor 
patient has with pain till death come to terminate his 
misery. And, 3. That the argument I refute indirectly 
represents Christ as a physician who keeps his patients 
upon the rack to render himself more necessary to them, 
and to show the strength of the anodyne mixture by 
which he gives them now and then a little ease under their 
continued, racking pain. 

Our author adds : " If those who bear the heaviest 
burdens are sometimes esteemed the strongest men, they 
who are thus engaged in this warfare " (I wish he would 
speak quite out, and say, " they who bear the heaviest 
burden of indwelling sin " ) " have that evidence of the 
strength of grace," &c., " which is peculiar to themselves. ' 
Page 49. A great mistake this ; for, if we may believe 
Ovid, when Medea murdered her own child, under a 
severe conflict with indwelling sin, she " had that " fatal 
" evidence of " what is here preposterously called " the 
strength of grace," but what I beg leave to call "the 
obstinacy of free will." Sed traJiit invitam nova vis^ &c. : 
" Passion," said she, " hurries away my unwilling, reluc- 



TO ANTINOMIAMSM. 99 

tant mind." Judas, it seems, was not an utter stranger to 
this conflict, any more than to the burden of guilt, when 
he huiTied out of it into a death-purgatory. Xor do I 
blame him for having " chosen strangling rather than 
life," if death can terminate the misery which accompanies 
indwelling sin, and do more, in that respect, for fallen 
believers, than Christ himself ever did. But, supposing 
that '"the saving grace of God" which "has appeared 
to all men," never appeared to Medea and Judas ; sup- 
posing these two sinful souls never conflicted with in- 
dwelling sin ; it will, however, follow, from our author's 
insinuation, that in case David had defiled half a dozen 
married women, and killed their husbands to enjoy them 
without a rival, we should esteem him six times stronger 
in grace, if he had not fainted under his sixfold burden, 
like Judas ; because, " in this " antinomian " warfare, 
those who bear the heaviest burdens, are esteemed the 
strongest " believers ; and because " they have that testi- 
mony of their love to Christ which is peculiar to them- 
selves." If Satan was to transform himself into an anael 
of light, could he preach a more dangerous and immoral 
gospel to an antinomian and perverse generation? 

XiNTii Argi'mkxt. — Our author's last argument in favour 
of the necc"^sary continuance of sin in us, occurs page 51, 
and runs thus: — '-I will only add, that by this warfare 
the Lord weans his people from the present evil world, 
and makes them long for the land of promise, as the land 
of rest," »^-c. \ know some will say, ' This is impossi- 
ble ;' and be ready to ask, " Are we, then, debtors to the 
flesh?'" A very proper question; which the author 
answers thus : — " By no means," t^^c. : " ' In our flesh 
dwells no good thing,'" <S:c. ''Nevertheless, he" (God) 
"can, and does, make the presence of evil so irksome to 
the believer, that it makes him ardently long for complete 
deliverance from it." That is, in plain English, he keeps 
his patients so long upon the rack of their indwelling sin, 
that, at last, they are forced to long for death, the great 
cleanser from heart-iniquity. This argument would have 
been complete, if it had been supported by these two pas- 
sages : — " I do well to be angry, even unto death." *■' lu 

F 2 



100 LAST CHECK 

those days, men," plagued by the locusts which ascend out 
of the bottomless pit, " shall desire to die, and death 
shall flee from them." To show its absurdity, I need only 
make two or three remarks upon it. 

1. Mark the inconsistency of our opponents. When 
they hear us press obedient faith upon a fallen or waver- 
ing believer, by mentioning to him the terrors of the Lord, 
the fear of losing the divine favour, and the danger of 
being even spued out of Christ's mouth, and condemned 
without mercy, if they show no mercy, they say, that 
enforcing the love of Christ on a disobedient believer will 
abundantly answer all the good ends which we propose by 
thus preaching Christ's law. But when they plead for 
the continuance of sin, they forget their own doctrine, and 
tell us, that indwelling sin is necessary to keep us in the 
way of duty, namely, in an ardent longing for heaven. 
They blame us for making use of Christ's law to spur 
believers, and yet they, (see to what astonishing height 
their partiality is grown ! ) they do not blush to preach 
openly the law of sin to believers ; insisting, that its 
working in their members is necessary to " make them 
long for the land of promise, as the land of rest, and for 
the speedy possession of that great good which God has 
laid up for them." Page 52. We are heretics for preach- 
ing the law of Christ — the law of liberty ; and they who 
preach the law of sin — the law of bondage — are orthodox, 
and engross to themselves the glorious title of " gospel 
ministers." 

2. How absurd is it to prop up the throne of indwelling 
sin in the heart of believers, that its tyrannical law may 
make them long for heaven ! Did not Christ long for 
heaven without indwelling sin? Do not the holiest 
believers who are most free from indwelling sin, long most 
for the beatific vision ? And do we not see, that fallen 
believers, who are most filled with indwelling sin, are 
most apt to be " lovers of" sin and "the world, more than 
lovers of God " and heaven ? Are they not the very 
people who, unmindful of Lot's wife, stay in the plain, 
instead of escaping for their life, and fleeing to the 
celestial mount of God, without ever looking behind them ? 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 101 

3. Is not indwelling sin a clog, rather than a spur, to 
tlie heavenly racers ? If sin is of such service to us, to 
make us run the career of holy longing after heavenly rest, 
why does the apostle exhort us to " set aside every weight, 
and the sin which does so easily beset us ?" If Ave want 
a spur to make us mend our pace, need we keep the spur 
indwelling sin ? Is it not more likely to spur us to 
hell, than to heaven ? If we have thousands of sinless 
spurs, what need have we of keeping that to drive us to 
heaven which drove Adam behind the trees of the garden, 
not to say, out of his native paradise ? 

If you ask, " What are the sinless spurs of believers ?" 
we reply. All the toils, infirmities, and pains of our weary, 
decaying, mortal bodies ; all the troubles, disappoint- 
ments, and sorrows which arise as naturally out of our 
present circumstances, as sparks do out of the fire ; a 
share of the dreadful temptations which harassed Christ 
in the wilderness ; and frequent tastes of the bitter cup 
which made him sweat blood in the garden, and cry 
out on Calvary. Hear one to whom our opponents ab- 
surdly give the spur of indwelling sin, as if he had not 
spurring enough Avithout it : "I fill up that Avhich is 
behind of the afiiictions of Christ in my flesh." Col. 
i. 24. And surely indwelling sin AA'as never one of 
Christ's afiiictions. Again : " "Who shall separate us from 
the love of Christ ? shall it be tribulation, or distress, or 
persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or SAVord? 
.\s it is Avritten, For thy sake Ave are killed all the day 
long : Ave are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." 
Once more : '' Some Avere tortm-ed, not accepting deli- 
verance ; and others had trial of cruel mockings and 
scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment : 
they Avere stoned, they AA'cre saAvn asunder, wt're 
tempted, Avere slain Avith the SAVord : they Avandcred 
about in sliecpskins and goatskins; being destitute, 
afilicted, tormented : they Avandered in deserts, and in 
mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." 

J grant, that all true believers have not these thorns 
in the fiesli, and feel not the spurs Avhicli made Elijah 
liee fur his life before incensed Jezebel, and request 



102 LAST CHECK 

that he might die under the juniper-tree : but, at the 
best of times^ they have, or should have, David's afflic- 
tion : " My eyes run down with water, because men 
keep not thy law." They have, or should have, Jere- 
miah's grief : " O that my head were waters, and mine 
eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and 
night " for the desolations of Jerusalem, or " for the 
slain of the daughter of God's people !" They have, or 
should have, the sorrow of just Lot, w^ho was " vexed 
from day to day with the filthy conversation of the 
wicked among Avhom he dwelt." To suppose, therefore, 
that in this vale of tears, tribulation, and sin, we need 
keep the sting of indwelling sin, because we must " strive 
against " the " sin " which is in the world, to the end, 
even " unto blood," if we are called to secure the crown of 
martyrdom ; or because it " is the will of God, that 
through much tribulation we should enter the kingdom," 
page 46 ; and because we should long for heaven : to 
suppose, I say, that we must keep the sting, indwelling 
sin, on these accounts, is as absurd as to suppose, that all 
the keepers and nurses in bedlam must be mad, and must 
continue to be plagued with personal lunacy, lest they 
should not strive against madness to the end ; lest they 
should not come out of great disturbances when they 
remove from their dreary habitation ; and lest, while they 
continue there, they should not see mad people enough 
to make them long for the conversation of reasonable 
persons. 

Tenth Argument . — Our author closes his shrewd plea 
for the death-purgatory, by proposing a very material objec- 
tion : " If any exclaim and say, ' These sentiments have a 
tendency to reconcile believers to sin,' I must say, The 
flesh might as soon be reconciled to the Spirit, as the 
Spirit to the flesh ; or sin to grace, as grace to sin. It is 
often said that ' nature will be nature.' And why may 
not this be applied to the divine nature, of which believers 
are said to be partakers ?" Page 52. Hence our author 
insinuates, that the divine nature of believers is immu- 
table ; and that, because " to will is present with them," 
when tkey sin they still retain God's holiness, as " lions 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 103 

and tigers, however confined or caressed, retain their 
ferocity and brutal appetites." 

I am glad to see, that this pious author has still the 
cause of holiness at heart, and desires to stop up the anti- 
nomian gap. I am persuaded, that he intends to do God 
service, by pleading for the continuance of indwelling sin. 
If he asks for the reprieve of that robber and murderer, it 
is merely because antinomianism has deceived him, as 
formerly pharisaism deceived the Jews, who cried, " Re- 
lease unto us Barabbas." If he saw, that Christ in us 
must be crucified afresh, in case the robber in us is not 
put to death ; I doubt not but he would be as sorry for 
his publication, as the devout Jews were for their anti- 
christian request, when they were " pricked to the heart," 
on the day of pentecost. 

But, alas ! if a good intention excuses bad perform- 
ances, it does not stop their mischief. The very desire 
which our author evidences to secure godliness is so 
unfortunately expressed, that it gives her as fatal a blow 
as the tempter did, when he said to our first parents, " Ye 
shall not surely die." For, when that gentleman inti- 
mates to fallen believers, " Ye are possessed of the divine 
nature ; and, be your works what they will, if ' to will 
be,' in some degree, ' present,' " page 54, " ye are as much 
possessed of God's holy image, as a lion is possessed of a 
lion's fierce nature ;" what is this, but to preach the very 
gospel which the serpent preached in paradise ? with this 
difi'erence, that the serpent said, " Ye shall not die : ye 
shall be as gods ; " but the imperfectionists say, " Your 
salvation is finished; ye have already tbe 'immutable na- 
ture ' of God : ye are already as gods." Adam believed 
the tempter, and lost his holy nature. The imperfec- 
tionists believe our autlior : O may none of them remain 
" immutable," in the sinful imperfection which ho so 
earnestly eoiiteiuls for ! 

XI. A caveat. Having said so much upon our author's 
mistakes, I should be inexcusable, if I did not drop a 
caution about the veil with which they are covered. Ilis 
book goes into the world under the harmless title of 
'' The Christian s peculiar Conflict ; " whereas it should be 



T04 LAST CHECK 

called, " A Plea for the Propriety and Usefulness of the 
Continuance of indwelling Sin in all Christians." This 
plain, artless title would hare made true Christians stand 
upon their guard : but now they take up without sus- 
picion the cup mixed by the author ; and it is well 
if some have not already drank it to the dregs without 
fear. 

An illustration will give the reader an idea of the 
wisdom with which the title of this essay is contrived. 
I write a treatise full upon the advantage of a standing 
rebellion in the kingdom, and urge a variety of plausible 
arguments to show the great good that will arise from an 
inveterate opposition to the government. '^- If a spirit of 
rebellion ceases in any subject, the king's patience, mercy, 
love, and power, will not be so fully displayed, nor will 
the loyalty of his good subjects be so well distinguished 
and proved. Rebellion, and the burdens that attend it, 
will make us long for peace. Guilty, ungrateful rebels 
will love the king, and admire his mercy, the more when 
they are forgiven after their manifold rebellions. And 
therefore, to use the unguarded words of our author, page 
53, ' it becomes us seriously to consider how far this great 
end ' (of a spirit of rebellion continually dwelling in every 
Briton's breast) ' is understood, approved, and answered.' ^ 
I show my manuscript to a friend, who says : " Your essay 
will alarm everv well-wisher to the constitution of the 
realm." But I remove his objection by saying, I will not 
call it " An Essay on the Propriety and Usefulness of a 
Spirit of Rebellion constantly harboured in the Breast of 
every one of his Majesty's Subjects ; " but I will call it, 
*' The Loyal Subject's peculiar Conflict ; an Essay on 
1 Sam. xii. 19," and this plausible title will modestly 
make way for my boldest arguments. Pleas for the con- 
tinuance of rebellion and indwelling sin may properly 
enough be introduced by such a stratagem. 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 105 



SECTION XV 

Having taken my leave of the ingenious author of 
" The Christian's peculiar Conflict," I return to Mr. Hill, 
■who, by this time meets me with his Review in his hand, 
and with that theological sling casts at our doctrine a stone 
which has indeed frighted thousands of weak souls, but 
has never done any execution amongst the judicious. 
" Your doctiine," says he, " is a popish doctrine ; " and he 
might have added with as much reason, that it is a Pelagian 
doctrine too ; for bold as Pelagius and some popes have 
been in coining new doctrines, they never came to such a 
pitch of boldness, as to say that they were the authors 
of the doctrine of evangelical obedience, and of those 
commandments which bind us to love God, our covenant- 
God, with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves ; 
precious gospel commandments these, upon which the 
doctrine of perfection securely rests. 

AVhat pope was ever silly enough to pretend that he wrote 
the book of Deuteronomy, where Ave find this sweet evan- 
gelical law ? — " Hear, Israel : Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God ^y\tll j?ll thine heart, and with all thy soul, and 
with all thy might. And these words, which I command 
thee this day, shall be in thy heart," to do them, I suppose, 
and not to ridicule them under the names of perfection 
and popery ! Deut. vi. 4 — 6. Now by what argument will 
^Ir. Hill prove that the pope is the inventor of this blessed 
doctrine ? 

Should that gentleman reply, that when God gave his 
ancient people this gracious law of perfection, \iv did not 
Lave it %ith an intention that they shouhl personally keep 
it as an evangelical law ; but only Avitli an intention to 
drive them to the promised ^lessiah, who was to keep 
it for tliem, and to give eternal indulgences to all the 
believers who break it; we demand a proof; and till ]\Ir. 
Hill produces it, we show his mistake by the fol'oA'. iiig 
arguments : — 1. Althougli the Jewish dispensation revealed 
a "' gracious Crod, abundant in goodness, mercy, and truth, 
fMrylving iniquity, transgression, and sin," to returning 

r5 



106 LAST CHECK 

sinners who penitentially laid hold on his Jewish cove- 
nant; yet, if I remember right, it never promised to 
accept of an obedience performed by another. Hence it 
is, that God never commanded that Jewish females should 
be circumcised ; but confined his ordinance to the males, 
who alone could personally obey it. We frequently read 
of vicarious sufifering in the Jewish gospel, but not of 
vicarious obedience and vicarious love. For although the 
obedience of godly parents engaged God to bestow many 
blessings upon their children ; yet the children were to 
obey for themselves, or to be cut off in the end. The 
Jews were undone by a conceit of the contrary doctrine, 
and by wild notions about the obedience of Abraham, and 
the holiness of the temple, which they fancied was im- 
puted to them in the Calvinian way. And a similar mis- 
take, it is to be feared, undoes still, multitudes of Christians, 
who fatally mistake the nature of Christian obedience, 
absurdly put on robes of self-imputed righteousness, and 
rashly bespatter the robes of personal and evangelically- 
perfect obedience, which God requires of every one of 
us. 

2. The mistake I expose would never have been made 
by our opponents, if they had not used themselves to tear 
the evangelically-legal part of the scriptures from the 
context, in order to give it a sense contrary to that of the 
sacred writers ; it being certain that when you have torn a 
man s tongue out of his mouth, you may afterwards force 
it down his throat, and leave it there with the root against 
his teeth, and the tip towards his stomach. To show that 
the precept of perfect love, which I have quoted from 
Deut. vi., is treated in this manner, as often as our op- 
ponents insinuate, God did not intend that Jewish 
believers should personally observe it as a term of final 
acceptance, but only that they should be driven thereby 
to the mediator, who should perfectly love God for them : 
to show, I say, the absurdity of this notion, we need only 
do Moses the justice to hear him out. Let any unpreju- 
diced person read the whole chapter, and he will, I am 
persuaded, side against the Calvinian imputation of a 
Jewish perfection to Jewish believers. Moses begins by 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 107 

saying, "Now these are the commandments which the 
Lord your God," yours through an evangelical covenant, 
" commanded to teach you, that ye might do them," and 
not that your mediator might do them for you. Deut. 
vi. 1 . Two verses after, he adds, " Hear, Israel, and 
observe, and do," (not, " Hear, O Israel, and another shall 
observe and do for thee,'') "that it may be well with thee." 
Then comes our capital doctrine and precept of perfect love, 
which, a few verses below, Moses continues to enforce 
thus : — " Ye shall not tempt the Lord your " covenant 
" God." " You shall diligently keep the" evangelical "com- 
mands of the Lord your " covenant " God ; and his " gospel 
" testimonies, which he has commanded thee. And thou 
shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the 
Lord thy God, that it may be well with thee." " And 
when thy son asketh thee, saying, What do mean these 
statutes " of perfect love ? &c. : " then thou shalt say unto 
thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt, and the 
Lord brought us out." And, lest antinomian hands should 
draw the golden nail of this perfect obedience for want of 
proper clinching, this precious chapter, Avhich our church 
has properly selected for a Sunday lesson, ends with these 
words, which must raise a blush on the face, or strike con- 
viction into the breast, of aU who trample under foot the 
rol)c.s of our own evangelical perfection : " And the Lord 
commanded us to do all these statutes, that he might pre- 
serve us alive;" " and it shall be our righteousness," our 
gospel perfection, "if we observe to do all these command- 
ments before the Lord our " covenant " God, as he has 
commanded us. " Deut. vi. 1 — 25. 

If our opponents say, that "this is a transcript of 
Adam's anti-mediatorial law of paradisiacal perfection, 
and not a copy of JVIoses's mediatorial law of Jewish per- 
fection ; " or if they assert, that " Moses Calvinistically 
hints, that the Jews were to keep this law by proxy;" 
they may say, that " light is darkness." And if they 
grant, that jMoscs was no antinomian shuffler, but really 
meant what he spoke and wrote, it unavoidal^ly follows, 
I. That God really required of every Jew an evangelical 
and personal perfection of love, according to the degree of 



108 LAST CHECK 

light and power imparted under the Jewish dispensation. 

2. That this ^evangelical, Jewish perfection of love was 
attainable by every sincere Jew; because, whatever God 
requires of us in a covenant of grace, he graciously 
engages himself to help us to perform, if we believingly 
and obediently embrace his promised assistance. And, 

3. That if an evangelical perfection of love was attainable 
under the Jewish gospel, (for the gospel was preached to 
the Jews as well as to us, although not so clearly, Heb. 
iv. 2,) it is absurd to deny, that the gospel of Christ 
requires less perfection, or makes less provision, that 
Christians may attain what their dispensation calls 
them to. 

If Mr. Hill thinks, that this inference is not just, I 
refer him to our Lord's declaration : " Think not that I 
am come to destroy the law and the prophets : I am not 
come to destroy, but to fulfil ; " first, by perfectly obeying 
myself the two great moral precepts of Moses and the 
prophets ; and next, by teaching and helping all my faith- 
ful disciples to do the same. Matt. v. 17. Should that 
gentleman object to the latter part of this little comment, 
because it leaves no room for the Calvinian imputation of 
Christ's mediatorial perfection to fallen believers, who 
sleep in impenitency, under the guilt of adultery, covered 
by murder ; we reply, that this part of our exposition, far 
from being forced, is highly agreeable to the text, when it 
is taken in connexion with the scope of our Lord's sermon, 
and with the context. For, 

1. All Christ's sermons, and especially that upon the 
mount, inculcate the doctrine of personal perfection, and 
not the doctrine of imputed perfection. 2. The very 
chapter out of which this text is taken ends with these 
words, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father 
which is in heaven is perfect." And Mr. Hill, prejudiced 
as he is against our doctrine, is too candid to assert, that 
our Lord meant, " Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father 
is perfect. Now, he is perfect only by the Calvinian 
imputation of my righteousness : it is merely b)'- imputa- 
tion that ' he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the 
good ; ■ and he ' sendeth ' only a Calvinistically-imputed 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 109 

* rain upon tlie just and upon the unjust. Be ye there- 
fore perfect' only by the imputation of my perfect 
righteousness." 

Mr. Hill's mistake has not only no countenance from 
the distant part of the context, but it is flatly contrary to 
the words which immediately follow the controverted 
text : " For verily I say unto you," that, far from being 
come to destroy the law and the prophets, that is, the 
spirituality and strictness of the moral part of the Jewish 
gospel, " Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle 
shall in no wise pass from the law,' which pharisaic 
glosses have unnerved, " till all be fulfilled." And lest 
you should think, that I speak of your fulfilling this law 
by proxy or imputation, I add : " Whosoever shall break 
one of these commandments," — which I am going to 
enforce upon you, as my own mediatorial law, though 
hitherto you have considered them only as Moses's medi- 
atorial law, — "whosoever," I say, "shall break one of these 
least commandments, and," by precept and example, " teach 
men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of 
heaven:" if he has any place among my people in my 
spiritual kingdom, it shall be only among my carnal babes, 
who are the least of my subjects. " But whosoever shall 
do and teach them," — the commandments whose spiritu- 
ality I am going to assert, — "the same shall be called great 
in the kingdom of heaven ; " he shall be an adult perfect 
Christian in the kingdom of my grace here, and he shall 
receive a proportionable crown of righteousness in the 
kingdom of ray glory hereafter. Matt. v. 18, 19. 

If I am not mistaken, it evidently follows from these 
plain words of Christ, 1 . That he taught a personal per- 
fection, and an evangelically-sinless perfection too. 2. 
That this perfection consists in not breaking, by wilful 
omission, the least of the commandments which our Lord 
resi-ued both from the false glosses of antinomian phari- 
socs, who rested on the imputed righteousness of Abraham, 
sayiiin, '- ^ AVe j^f^ye Abraham for our fiither : ' we are the 
children of Abraham : we are perfect in Abraham : all 
our perfection is in Abraham." And from the no less 
false glosses of those absurdly-legal pharisees, who paid 



ilO LAST CHECK 

the tithe of anise, mint, and cummin with the greatest 
scrupulosity, \jhilst they secretly neglected mercy, truth, 
and the love of God. And, 3. That the perfection 
which Christ enforced upon his disciples was not merely 
of the negative kind, but of the positive also, since it 
consisted both in doing and in teaching the least, as well 
as the greatest, of God's commandments. 

If you ask, What are the greatest of these command- 
ments which Christ says his disciples must "do and 
teach," if they will be great or perfect in his kingdom 
and dispensation ? St. Matthew answers : " One of the 
pharisees, who was a lawyer, asked him a question, say- 
ing, Master, which is the great commandment in the 
law ?" the name then given to the Jewish gospel which 
Moses preached. " Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy 
soul, and with all thy mind: this is the first and great 
commandment. And the second is like unto it " in na- 
ture and importance, " Thou shalt love thy neighbour as 
thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law 
and the prophets;" Matt. xxii. 35 — 40; that is, whatever 
Moses and the other prophets taught and promised hangs 
on the nail of perfect love ; all came from, all tended to, 
perfect love, under the Jewish dispensation. Nor is my 
dispensation less holy and gracious; on the contrary, 
" what the law could not do," in a manner sufficiently per- 
fect for my dispensation, (for Jewish perfection is not the 
highest perfection at which man may arrive on earth,) 
" God sending me into the world for " the atonement and 
destruction of " sin, has " hereby abundantly " condemned 
sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the " mediatorial 
"law," which enjoins perfect love, "might be" abun- 
dantly "fulfilled in" the hearts of "them that walk after 
the spirit " of my gospel ; a brighter gospel this, which 
transmits more direct and warmer beams from the Sun of 
Righteousness, and can raise the exquisitely-delicious 
fruit of perfect love to a greater perfection, than the 
gospel which Moses preached. Compare Rom. viii. 3 
with Heb. iv. 2. See also an account of the superiority 
of Christ's gospel in the Scripture Scales, section vi. 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. Ill 

Agreeably to this doctrine of perfection, our Lord said 
to the rich young man, "If thou wilt enter into life, 
keep the commandments : if thou wilt be perfect, follow 
me " in the way of my commandments ; " love God with 
all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself." For " blessed 
are they that do his commandments, that they may enter 
through the gate into the city, and hare right to the tree 
of life which is in the street of that city, on either side of 
the pure river of the water of life. This do, and thou 
shalt live " eternally in heaven. " Bring forth fruit unto 
perfection," according to the talents of grace and power 
which thou art entrusted with, and thou shalt " inherit 
eternal life," thou shalt " receive the reward of the inherit- 
ance," thou shalt " receive the crown of life, Avhich the 
Lord has promised to them that love him" with the love 
which keepeth the commandments, and fulfiUeth the royal 
law. Compare Matt. xix. 17; Luke x. 28; Rev. xxii. 2, 
14 ; James i. 12 ; and Luke viii. 14. 

On these and the above-mentioned scriptures we rest 
the truth and importance of the doctrine of perfection. 
Jewish perfection principally stands or falls with Deut. vi. 
and j\Iatt. xxii. ; and Christian perfection with Matt. v. 
and xix,, to which you may add the joint testimony of 
St. Paul and St. James. The former, whom our oppo- 
nents absurdly make the captain of their imperfection, 
says to the Judaizing Galatians, " Bear ye one another's 
burdens," (a rare instance of perfect love !) " and so fulfil 
the" mediatorial "law of Christ," Gal. vi. 2. Nor let 
Mr. Hill say, that the apostle means we should fulfil it 
by proxy ; for St. Paul adds in the next verse but one, 
"Let every man prove his own work, and then" (with 
respect to that work) " he shall have rejoicing in himself 
alone, and not in another ; for" (with regard to personal, 
evangelical obedience) "every man shall bear his own 
burden ;" a proverbial expression, Avliich answers to this 
gospel axiom, " Every man shall be judged according to 
his own works." 

St. Paul urges the same evangelical and biwful doctrine 
upon the Romans : " Love one another ; for he that 
loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou 



112 LAST CHECK 

shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not covet ; and if 
there be any^other commandment, it is briefly compre- 
hended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neigh- 
bour as thyself. Love is the fulfilling of the law." Horn, 
xiii. 8, &c. And that St. Paul spake this of the media- 
torial law of liberty and Christian perfection, and not of 
the Christless law of innocence and paradisiacal perfection, 
is evident from his calling it " the law of Christ," that is, 
our Redeemers law, in opposition to our Creator's law, 
which was given without an atoning sacrifice and a 
mediating priest, and therefore made no allowance for 
infirmities, and admitted neither of repentance nor of 
renovated obedience. Besides, St. Paul was not such a 
novice as not to know, that the Galatians and the Romans, 
who had all sinned, as he observes, Rom. iii. 23, could 
never be exhorted by any man in his senses, to fulfil the 
paradisiacal law of innocence by now loving one another. 
He therefore indubitably spake of the gracious law of 
our gentle Melchizedek ; — the law of him who said, " A 
new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one 
another ; as I have loved you, that ye also love one ano- 
ther." John xiii. 34. A precious commandment this, 
which our Lord calls " new," not because the Jewish 
mediator had not given it to the Israelites, but because 
the Christian Mediator enforced it by new motives, 
gave new, unparalleled instances of obedience to it, 
annexed new rewards to the keeping of it, and required 
it to be fulfilled with a new perfection ; and that 
Christians shall be eternally saved or damned according 
to their keeping or breaking this mediatorial law of 
Christian perfection, this " law of Christ," tJiis royal 
law of " Jesus, the King of the Jews," we prove by 
Matt, xviii. 35 ; vii. 26 ; xxv. 45 ; and Luke vi. 46, &c. 

If Mr. Hill's prejudices are not removed by what St. 
Paul says in Rom. xiii. concerning our fulfilling the gos- 
pel law of perfection ; we entreat him to ponder the glo- 
rious testimony which the apostle in Rom. ii. bears to this 
law, which he does not scruple to call his " gospel." With 
regard to this gracious rule of judgment says he, " There 
is no respect of persons with God. For as many as 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 113 

Lave sinned without a" mediator's written " law, shall 
also perish without a" mediator s written " law ; and 
as many as have sinned in" or under a mediator's written 
'* law, shall be judged by the" mediator's written " law. 
For not the hearers of the" mediator's "law are just 
before God, but the doers of the" mediator's "law shall 
be justified." Nor are the heathens totally destitute 
of this law: "For when the gentiles, which have not 
the" mediator's written " law, do by nature" (by natural 
conscience, which is the echo of the mediator's voice, and 
the reflection of the light which enlightens every man 
that cometh into the world ); " when the gentiles," I say, 
"do" by that means " the things contained in the" 
mediator's " law, they, having not the" mediator's " law, 
are" the mediator's "law unto themselves; their con- 
science also bearing witness, and their thoughts" (in 
consequence of the witness borne) " accusing or else excus- 
ing one another ; in the day when God shall judge the 
secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel," 
that is, according to the gospel law which I preach. Rom. 
ii. 11, &c. For, while some " lay up treasures in heaven," 
others " treasure up to themselves wrath against the day 
of wrath, and of the righteous judgment of God, who 
will render to every man according to his deeds ; to them 
who, by patient continuance in well-doing," or in keeping 
the mediator's law according to their dispensation, " seek 
for glory," he will render " eternal life," like a righteous 
judge, and gracious rewarder of them that diligently 
seek him. " But unto them that do not obey the truth, 
but obey unrighteousness," he will render " indignation 
and wrath," in just proportion to the 'more or less bright 
discoveries of the truth which have been made to them. 
Rom. ii. 5, &c. For " that servant who" clearly " knew 
his Lord's will," by a written law delivered through the 
hands of a mediator, " and prepared not himself" that he 
might have boldness in the day of judgment, "neither 
did according to his will, shall be beaten with many 
stripes" in the hell of unbelieving Jews and disobedient 
Christians. " But he that knew not" his masters will 
by an outwardly- Avritten law, " and did" break the law 



114 LAST CHECK 

of nature, disobey the voice of his conscience, and "com- 
mit things wprthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few 
stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him 
shall be much required." Luke xii. 47, 48. An indubita- 
ble proof this, that, as something is required of all, some- 
thing, even a talent of grace, a measure of the spiritual 
light which enlightens every man, is given to all to im- 
prove vdth, and bring forth fruit to perfection, some 
thirtyfold, some sixtyfold, and others a hundredfold, 
according to their respective dispensations. 

From these quotations it appears to us indubitable, that 
the gospel of St. Paul, and, of consequence, the gospel of 
Christ, is not a wanton, lawless gospel, but an holy, law- 
ful gospel, in which evangelical promises are properly 
guarded by evangelical rules of judgment ; and the doc- 
trines of grace wisely connected with the doctrines of 
justice. If this is a glaring truth, what a dangerous game 
do many good men play when they emasculate St. Paul's 
gospel, and with antinomian rashness cut off and cast 
away that morally-legal part of it which distinguishes it 
both from the ceremonial gospel, which the Galatians 
foolishly embraced, and from the lawless gospel, which 
solifidian gospellers contend for, under the perverted name 
of "free grace!" And how seriously should we all con- 
sider these awftil words of St. Paul ! " There are some 
that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ ; 
but though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any 
other gospel unto you," whether it be a more severe Juda- 
izing gospel, or a less strict solifidianizing gospel, " than 
that which we have preached unto you," which stands at 
an equal distance from burdensome Jewish ceremonies, 
and from lawless solifidian tenets, " let him be accursed." 
Gal. i. 7, 8. 

This recapitulation of the principal scripture-proofs of 
our doctrine would be exceedingly deficient, if I did not 
once more remind the reader of the glorious testimony 
which St. James bears to the law of liberty : " If ye" 
believers, says he, " fulfil the royal law, according to the 
scripture. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do 
well ;" ye quit yourselves like perfect Christians : " but 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 115 

if ye have" uncharitably " respect to persons, ye commit 
sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors ;" that 
is, ye are condemned by the mediator's law, under which 
ye are. " For whosoever shall keep the whole law" of 
the mediator, " and yet" uncharitably " offend in one 
point, he is guilty of all," &c. " So speak ye therefore, 
and so do, as people that shall be judged by the law of 
liberty," the mediator's law. " For he" (the imperfect, 
uncharitable, fallen believer) " shall have judgment with- 
out mercy, that hath showed no" charity, or " mercy." 
James ii. 8 — 13. 

We rest our doctrine of Jewish and Christian perfection 
Dn these consentaneous testimonies of St. James and St. 
'aul ; of Moses, the great lawgiver of the Jews, and of 
yhrist, the great Lawgiver of the Christians ; the doctrine 
of perfection, or of perfectly cordial obedience, being 
inseparably connected with the mediatorial laws of Moses 
and of Christ. The moment you destroy these laws, by 
turning them into "rules of life," through the personal 
obser\'ance of which no believer shall ever be justified or 
condemned, you destroy the ground of Jewish and Chris- 
tian perfection, and you impose upon us the lawless 
unscriptural tenet of an obedience performed by proxy, 
and of an imputed perfection, which will do us as little 
good in life, death, and judgment, as imputed health, 
opposed to inherent health, will do to a poor, sickly, dying 
criminal. Thus, after leading my reader around a large 
circle of proofs, I return to the very point whence I 
stai'ted. See the beginning of the preface. And I con- 
clude, that a gospel without a mediatorial law, without an 
evangelical law, without the conditional promise of a crown 
of heavenly glory to the obedient, and without the condi- 
tional threatening of infernal stripes to the disobedient ; I 
conclude, I say, that such a gospel will always lead us to the 
centre of antinomianism ; to the Diana and Hecate of the 
Calvinists ; to lawless free grace and everlasting free 
wrath ; or, if you please, to finished salvation and finished 
damnation. On the other hand, the moment you admit 
what the Jewish and Christian gospel covenants are so 
express about, — I mean, an evangelical law, or a prac- 



116 LA.ST CHECK 

ticable rule of judgment, as well as of conduct, — eternal 
salvation and Vernal damnation become conditional ; they 
are suspended upon the evangelical perfection or imper- 
fection of our obedience ; and the Rev. Mr. Berridge hits 
on the head the golden nail on which " hang all the law 
and the prophets," all the four gospels and the epistles, 
when he says, "Sincere obedience, as a condition, will 
lead you unavoidably up to perfect obedience." 

And now, reader, choose which thou wilt follow, Mr. 
Hill's lawless antinomian gospel, or St. Paul and St. 
James's gospel, including the evangelical law of Christian 
liberty and perfection, by which law thou shalt be condi- 
tionally justified or condemned, " when God shall judge 
the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gos- 
pel." Rom. ii. 16. If thou choose imputed righteousness 
and imputed perfection without any condition, it will 
unavoidably lead thee down into a death-purgatory, 
through the chambers of indwelling sin, if thou art an 
elect, in the Calvinian sense of the word ; or to eternal 
damnation, through the chambers of necessary sin, if thou 
art one of those whom our opponents call " reprobates." 
But if thou cordially choose the sincere, voluntary, evan- 
gelical obedience of faith, which we preach both as a con- 
dition and as a privilege, it will, Mr. Hill's second being 
judge, " unavoidably lead thee up to perfect obedience." 
There is absolutely no medium between these two gospels. 
Thou must be either a Crispian, lawless imperfectionist, or 
an evangelical, lawful perfectionist ; unless thou choose to 
be a Gallio, — one who cares for none of these things. 
Thou must wrap thyself up in unscriptural notions of im- 
puted righteousness, imputed holiness, and imputed obe- 
dience, which make up the ideal garment of Calvinist- 
ically- imputed perfection ; or thou must perfectly wash in 
the blood of the Lamb thy robes of inherent, though 
derived, righteousness, holiness, and obedience, which, 
when they are thus washed, are the rich wedding garment 
of evangelical perfection. 



TO ANTIXOMIANISM. 117 

SECTION XYI. 

T\''e liave proved, in the preceding section, that the doc- 
trine of an eA^angelically-sinless perfection is truly scrip- 
tural, being inseparably connected with the greatest and 
most excellent precepts of the old and ne^y testaments, 
and ■with the most evangelical and awful sanctions of 
Moses and Jesus Christ. This might suffice to show, that 
our doctrine of perfection cannot be called " popish " or 
" Pelagian," with any more candour than the doctrine of 
the Trinity can be branded with those epithets, because 
Pelagius and the pope embrace it. If, in order to be 
good protestants, we were obliged to renounce all that the 
Jews, Turks, and infidels hold, we should renounce the 
old testament, because the Jews revere it ; we should 
renounce the unity of God, because the Mahometans con- 
tend for it ; nay, we should renounce common humanity, 
because all infidels approve it. I beg leave, however, to 
dwell a moment more upon Mr. Hill's objection, that the 
pope holds our doctrine. 

When this gentleman was at Rome, he may remember, 

that his cicerone showed him, in the ancient church of St. 

Paul without the Gate, if I remember the name right, the 

pictures of all the popes, from St. Peter, Linus, Cletus, 

and Clement, down to the pope who then filled what is 

called " St. Peter's chair." According to this view of 

papacy, Mr. Hill is certainly in the right ; for if he turns 

back to section v., he will see that Peter, the first pope, so 

called, was a complete perfectionist ; and if Clemens or 

St. Clement, Paul's fellow-labourer, was really the fourth 

pope, it is certain, that he also held our doctrine, as well 

as Peter and Christ, for he wrote to the Corinthians, 

" By love wore all the elect of God made perfect. Those 

who were made perfect in love are in the region of the 

just, and shall appear in glory. Happy, then, are we, if 

we fulfil the commandments of God in the unity of love. 

Following the commandments of God, they sin not." (St. 

Clement's epistle to the Corinthians.) This glorious 

testimony, which St. Clement bears to the doctrine of 



118 LAST CHECK 

perfection, might be supported by many correspondent 
quotations from the other fathers. But as this would too 
much swell this essay, I shall only produce one, which is 
so much the more remarkable, as it is taken from St. 
Jerome's third dialogue against Pelagius, the rigid, over- 
doing perfectionist : Hoc et nos dicimtcs, posse hominem 
noil peccare, si velit, pro tempore, pro loco, pro iinbecilli- 
tate corporea, quamdiu intentus est animus, qtiamdiu 
chorda nulla vitio laxatur i?i cithard ; that is, " We," 
who oppose Pelagius's notions about Adamic perfection, 
" maintain also that, considering our time, place, and 
bodily weakness, we can avoid sinning, if we will, as long 
as our mind is bent upon it, and the string of our harp," 
that is, of our Christian resolution, " is not slackened by 
any wilful fault." 

When I read these blessed testimonies in favour of the 
truth which we vindicate, my pleased mind flies to Rome, 
and I am ready to say. Hail ! ye holy popes and fathers, 
ye perfect servants of my perfect Lord ! I am ambitious 
to share with you the names of " Arminian, Pelagian, 
papist, temporary monster, and atheist in masquerade." 
I publish to the world my steadfast resolution to follow you, 
and any of your successors, who have done and taught 
Christ's commandments. And I enter my protest against 
the mistakes of the ministers who teach that Christ's law 
is impracticable, that sin must dwell in our hearts as long 
as we live, and that we must continue to break the Lord's 
precepts in our inward parts unto death. 

I shall close my answer to this argument of Mr. Hill, 
by a quotation from Mr. Wesley's Remarks upon the 
Review : — " It " (our doctrine of Christian perfection) 
" has been condemned by the pope and his whole con- 
clave, even in this present century. In the famous bull 
Unigenitus they utterly condemn the uninterrupted act " 
(of faith and love, which some then talked of, of continually 
rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks) " as dreadful heresy ! " 
If we have Peter and Clement on our side, we are willing 
to let Mr. Hill screen his doctrine behind the pope who 
issued out the bull Unigenitus, and, if he pleases, behind 
the present pope too. 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 319 

'•However," says Mr. Hill, "the distinction between 
sins and innocent infirmities is derired from the Romish 

church." 

AxswER. — 1. We rejoice, if the church of Rome -was 
never so unreasonable, and so deluded by antinomian 
popes, as to confound an involuntary, wandering thought, 
an undesigned mistake, and a lamented fit of drowsiness 
at prayer, with adultery, murder, and incest ; in order to 
represent Christ's mediatorial law as absolutely imprac- 
ticable ; and to insinuate that fallen believers, who actually 
commit the above-mentioned crimes, are God's deai^ 
children, as well as the obedient believers who labour 
under the above-described infirmities. 

2. We apprehend that Mr. Hill, and the divines who 
have espoused Dr. Crisp's errors, are some of the lasti 
persons in the world, by whom we may, with decency, be 
charged to hold " licentious " doctrines. And we are truly 
sorry, that any protestants should make it their business 
to corrupt that part of the gospel, which, if we believe 
Mr. Hill, the pope himself has modestly spared. 

3. IMr. Hill might, with much more propriety, have 
objected, that our distinction is derived from the Jewish 
church ; for " the old rogue," as some solifidians have 
rashly called Closes, evidently makes a distinction between 
sins and infirmities. He punished a daring sabbath- 
breaker and an audacious rebel with death, with present 
death, with the most terrible kind of death. The lan- 
guage of his burning zeal seemed to be that of David : 
" Be not merciful to them that offend of malicious wicked- 
ness." Psalm lix. f). But upon such as accidentally con- 
tracted some involuntary pollution, he inflicted no other 
punishment, than that of a separation from the congre- 
gation till evening. If Mr. Hill considers the difference 
of these two punishments, he must either give place to 
pervcrsc'uess, or confess, that wilful sins and involuntary 
infirmities ^vore not Calvinistically confounded by the 
mediator of the old covenant ; and that Moses himself 
made a rational and evangelical distinction between " the 
spot of Cod's children," and "the spot of" the "perverse 
and crooked generation." Deut. xxxii. 5. 



120 LAST CHECK 

4. That Christ, the equitable and gracious Mediator of 
the new covenant, was not less merciful than stern Moses, 
with respSct to the distinction we contend for, appears to 
us evident from his making a wide difference between the 
almost involuntary drowsiness of the eleven disciples in 
Gethsemane, and the malicious watchfulness of the traitor 
Judas. Concerning the offence of the former, he said, 
" The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak ; " and 
with respect to the crime of the latter, he declared, " It 
would be good for that man, if he had never been born." 

5. David and Paul exactly followed here in the doctrine 
of Moses and Christ. The psalmist says, " Keep back 
thy servant also from presumptuous sins ; let them not 
have the dominion over me ; then shall I be upright," 
(or rather, as the word literally means in the original, " I 
shall be perfect,") " and innocent from the great trans- 
gression." Psalm xix. 13. ITence it is evident that some 
transgressions are incompatible with the perfection which 
David prayed for ; and that some errors, or some secret, 
unnoticed, involuntary faults are not. 

6. This, we apprehend, is evident from his own. w^ords : 
" Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth no 
sin ; and in whose spirit there is no guile," though there 
may be some improprieties in his words and actions. 
Psalm xxxii. 2, David's meaning may be illustrated by 
the Avell-known case of Nathanael. Philip said to him. 
" We have found him of whom Moses wrote in the law ; " 
(a clear proof this, by the bye, that " the law " frequently 
means the Jewish gospel, which testifies of Christ to 
come ;) it is " Jesus of Nazareth. And Nathanael said 
unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ? " 
Here was an involuntary fault, an improper quoting of a 
proverbial expression; and nevertheless, as he quoted it 
with a good intention, and to make way for a commend- 
able inquiry into the report which he heard, his error was 
consistent with perfection ; he continued innocent from the 
"great" wilful "transgression." This I prove: 1. By his 
conduct : " Philip saith unto him. Come and see ; " and 
he instantly went, without betraying the least degree of 
the self-conceited stiffness, surly pride, and morose resist- 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 121 

ance, which always accompany the unloving prejudice by 
Avhich the law of Christ is broken. And, 2. By our 
Lord's testimony : " Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, 
and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is 
no guile ; " that is, no mixture of indwelling sin. Our 
Lord's word for " guile," in the original, is ^oAof, the very 
word which, being also connected Avith a negative, forms 
the epithet aSoAoc, whereby St. Peter denotes the unadul- 
terated purity of God's word, which he compares to 
" sincere " or perfectly-pure " milk." 1 Pet. ii. 2. Hence 
I conclude, that, Christ himself being witness, evangelically 
speaking, there was no more indwelling sin in Nathanael, 
than there is in the pure word of God ; and that this is the 
happy case of all those who fully deserve the glorious title 
of " Israelite indeed," which our Lord publicly bestowed 
upon Nathanael. To return : — 

7. If to make a distinction between sins and infirmities, 
constitutes a man half a papist, it is evident that St. Paul 
was not less tinctured with popery, so called, than David, 
Moses, and Jesus Christ ; for he writes to Timothy, 
" Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may 
fear." 1 Tim. v. 20. And yet he writes to the Romans, 
'' We that are strong ought to bear with the infirmities 
of the weak." Rom. xv. 1. Here are two plain com- 
mands ; the first, not to bear with sins ; and the second, 
to bear with infirmities : a demonstration this, that there 
is an essential difference between sins and infirmities, and 
that this difference is discoverable to others, and much 
more to ourselves. Nay, in most cases, it is so discernible 
to those who have their spiritual senses properly disposed, 
that they can as easily distinguish between " sins," properly 
so called, and infirmities, as a wise judge can distinguish 
between accidental death, and wilful murder ; or between 
unknowingly passing a false guinea with a kind intention 
to relieve the poor, and treasonably coining it with a 
roguish design to defraud the public. The difference 
between the sun and the moon is not more striking in the 
natural world, than the difference between sins and in- 
firmities is in the moral world. Nevertheless, blind 
prejudice will probably confound them still, to darken 

Vol. v. G 



122 



LAST CHECK 



counsel, and to raise a cloud of logical dust, that anti- 
nomianisnij^ the Diana of the imperfectionists, may 
make her escape, and save indwelling sin, which is the 
claw of the hellish lion, the tooth of the old dragon, the 
fishinghook of satan, and the deadly sting of the king of 
terrors. 

8. Judicious Calvinists have seen the propriety of the 
distinction for which we are represented as unsound pro- 
testants. Of many whom I could mention, I shall only 
quote one, who, for his piety, wisdom, and moderation, 
is an honour to Calvinism ; I mean the Eev. Mr. Newton, 
minister of Olney. In his Letters on religious Subjects, 
page 199, he makes this ingenuous confession: "The 
experience of past years has taught me" (and I hope, that 
some day or other, it will also teach our other opponents) 
" to distinguish between ignorance and disobedience. The 
Lord is gracious to the weakness of his people : many 
involuntary mistakes will not interrupt their communion 
with him ; he pities their infirmity, and teaches them to 
do better. But if they dispute his known will, and act 
against the dictates of conscience, they will surely suffer 
for it. Wilful sin sadly perplexes and retards our pro- 
gress." Here is, if I mistake not, a clear distinction 
made by a true protestant between disobedience or wilful 
sin, and weakness, involuntary mistakes, or infirmity. 

9. If Mr. Hill will not regard Mr. Newton's authority, 
I beg he would show some respect for the authority of 
our church, and the import of his own prayers. If there 
is absolutely no difference between wilful sins, involuntary 
negligences, and unavoidable ignorances, why does our 
church distinguish between them when she directs us to 
pray, in the litany, " that it may please God to forgive 
us all our sins, negligences, and ignorances ?" If these 
three words have but one meaning, should not Mr. Hill 
leave out the two last as ridiculous tautology? Or, at 
least, to remove from our church the suspicion of popery, 
should he not pray every Sunday that God would " forgive 
us all our sins, sins, and sins ?" 

From the nine preceding remarks and quotations it 
appears, if I mistake not, that our important distinction 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 123 

between wilful sin and infirmities, or involuntary offences, 
recommends itself to reason and conscience ; that it is 
supported by the law of Moses and the gospel of Christ, 
by the psalms of David and the epistles of St. Paul, by 
the >vritings of judicious Calvinists and the liturgy of our 
church ; and therefore it is as absurd to call it a " popish 
distinction," because the papists are not injudicious enough 
to reject it, as it is absurd to call the doctrine of Christ's 
divinity a " doctrine of devils," because devils acknow- 
ledged him to be the Son of God, and their omnipotent 
controller. 

Should Mr. Hill reply, that, if this distinction cannot 
properly be called " popish," it deserves to be called 
"antinomian" and "licentious," because it countenances 
all the men who give to their grossest sins the soft name 
of "innocent infirmities;" we answer, 1. It has been 
proved, that Moses and Jesus Christ held this distinction ; 
and therefore, to call it " antinomian" and "licentious," 
is to call not only Christ the holy One of God, but even 
"legal" Moses, an "antinomian," and "an advocate for 
licentiousness." See what these Calvinian refinements 
come to ! 2. The men who abuse the doctrine of the 
distinction between sins and infirmities, abuse as much 
the doctrine of God's mercy, and the important distinction 
between working days and the Lord's day; but is this 
a proof that the doctrines of God's mercy, and of the 
distinction between the Lord's day and other days, are 
"licentious tenets, against which all that wish well to 
the interest of protestantism should protest in a body ?" 

If Mr. Hill tries to embarrass us by saying, " Where 
will you draw the line between wilful sins and (evangel- 
ically speaking) innocent infirmities?" we reply, with- 
out the least degree of embarrassment. Where Moses and 
the prophets have drawn it in the old testament ; where 
Christ and the apostles have done it in the new; and 
where we do it after them in these pages. And, retorting 
the question, to show its frivolousness, we ask. Where 
will Mr. Hill draw the line between the free, evangelical 
observing of the Lord's day, and the superstitious, pha- 
risaic keeping of the sabbath ; or between weak, saving 

G 2 



124 LAST CEECK 

faith, and wilful unbelief? Nay, upon his principles, 
where will he draw it even between a good and a bad 
work, if aU our good works are really dung, dross, and 
filthy rags ? 

However, as the question is important, I shall give it 
a more particular answer. An infirmity is a breach of 
Adam's law of paradisiacal perfection, which our cove- 
nant God does not require of us now : and, evangelically 
speaking, a sin for Christians is a breach of Christ's evan- 
gelical law of Christian perfection ; a perfection this, 
which God requires of all Christian believers. An in- 
firmity, considering it with the error which it occasions, 
is consistent with pure love to God and man ; but a sin 
is inconsistent with that love : an infirmity is free from 
guile, and has its root in our animal frame ; but a sin is 
attended with guile, and has its root in our moral frame, 
springing either from the habitual corruption of our heart, 
or from the momentary perversion of our tempers: an 
infirmity unavoidably results from our unhappy circum- 
stances, and from the necessary infelicities of our present 
state ; but a sin flows from the avoidable and perverse 
choice of our own will : an infirmity has its foundation 
in an involuntary want of light and power ; and a sin, 
in a wilful abuse of the present light and power we have. 
The one arises from involuntary ignorance and weakness, 
and is always attended with a good meaning, a meaning 
unmixed with any bad design or wicked prejudice; but 
the other has its source in voluntary perverseness and 
presumption, and is always attended with a meaning 
altogether bad ; or, at best, with a good meaning founded 
on wicked prejudices. If to this line the candid reader 
adds the line which we have drawn, (section vi.,) between 
the perfection of a gentile, that of a Jew, and that of a 
Christian, he will not easily mistake in passing a judg- 
ment between the wilful sins which are inconsistent 
with an evangelically-sinless perfection, and the inno- 
cent infirmities which are consistent with such a per- 
fection. 

Confounding what God has divided, and dividing what 
the God of truth has joined, are the two capital strata- 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 125 

gems of the God of error. The first he has chiefly used 
to ecHpse or darken the doctrine of Christian perfection. 
By means of his instruments he has perpetually con- 
founded the Christless law of perfect innocence given to 
Adam before the fall; and the mediatorial, evangelical 
law of penitential faith, under which our first parents 
were put, when God promised them the seed of the 
woman, the mild Lawgiver, the Prince of peace, the 
gentle King of the Jews, who " breaks not the bruised 
reed, nor quenches the smoking flax," but compassion- 
ately tempers the doctrines of justice by the doctrines of 
grace, and, instead of the law of innocence, which he 
has kept and made honourable for us, has substituted his 
own evangelical law of repentance, faith, and gospel- 
obedience, which law is actually kept, according to one 
or another of its various editions, by all "just men made 
perfect ;" that is, by all the wise virgins who are ready 
for the midnight cry, and the marriage of the Lamb. 

Hence it appears that Pelagius and Augustine were 
both right in some things, and wrong in a capital point. 
Pelagius, the father of the rigid perfectionists and rigid 
free-wiUers, asserted that Christ's law could be kept, and 
that the keeping of that law was all the perfection which 
that law requires. So far Pelagius was right, having 
reason, conscience, and scripture on his side. But he 
was grossly mistaken if he confounded Christ's mediatorial 
law with the law of paradisiacal perfection. This was 
his capital error, which led him to deny original sin, and 
to extol human powers so excessively as to intimate, 
that, by a faithful and diligent use of them, man may 
be as innocent and as perfect as Adam was before the 
fell. 

On tlie other hand, Augustine, the father of the rigid 
iinperfectionists and rigid bound-willers, maintained that, 
our natural powers being greatly weakened and depraved 
by the fall, we cannot, by all the helps which the gospel 
affords, keep the law of innocence ; that is, always think, 
speak, and act with that exactness and propriety which 
became immortal man, when God pronounced him " very 
good," in paradise. He asserted, that every impropriety 



J 26 LAST CHECK 

of thought, language, or behaviour is a breach of the law 
of perfectioij, under which God placed innocent man in 
the garden of Eden. And he proved, that every breach 
of this law is a sin against it, because the transgression of 
a law is sin ; and that, of consequence, there can be no 
Adamic paradisiacal perfection in this life. So far Au- 
gustine was very right ; so far reason and scripture sup* 
port his doctrine ; and so far the church is obliged to him 
for having made a stand against Pelagius. But he was 
very much mistaken, when he abolished the essential 
diiference which there is between our Creator's law of 
strict justice, and our Redeemer's mediatorial law of 
justice, tempered with grace and mercy. Hence he con- 
cluded, that there is absolutely no keeping the law, and, 
consequently, no performing any perfect obedience in this 
life, and that we must sin as long as we continue in the 
body. Thus, while Pelagius made adult Christians as. 
perfectly sinless as Adam was in paradise, Augustine 
made them so completely sinful, as to make it necessary 
for every one of them to go into a death-purgatory, 
crying, " There is a law in my members, which brings me 
into captivity to the law of sin. Sin dwelleth in me. 
With my flesh I serve the law of sin. I am carnal, sold 
under sin. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver 
me?" 

The scripture doctrine which we vindicate stands at an 
equal distance from these extremes of Pelagius and 
Augustine. It rejects, with Augustine, the Adamic per- 
fection which Pelagius absurdly pleaded for; and it 
explodes, with Pelagius, the necessary continuance of 
indwelling sin and carnal bondage, which Augustine no 
less absurdly maintained. Thus, adult believers are still 
sinners, still imperfect, according to the righteous law of 
paradisiacal innocence and perfection ; and yet they are 
really saints, and perfect, according to the gracious law of 
evangelical justification and perfection : a law this which 
considers as upright and perfect, all the godly heathens, 
Jews, and Christians, who are without guile in their 
respective folds, or under their various dispensations. 
Thus, by still vindicating the various editions of Christ's 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 127 

mediatorial law, which has been, at times, almost buried 
under heaps of pharisaic and antinomian mistakes, we still 
defend practical religion. And, as in the Scripture Scales, 
by proving the evangelical marriage of free grace and free 
will we have reconciled Zelotes and Honestus, with 
respect to faith and works ; so, in this essay, by proving 
the evangelical union of the doctrines of grace and justice, 
in the mild and righteous law of our Redeemer, we recon- 
cile Augustine and Pelagius, and force them to give up 
reason and scripture, or to renounce the monstrous errors 
which keep them asunder ; I mean the deep antinomian 
errors of Augustine, with respect to indwelling sin and a 
death-purgatory, and the highflown, pharisaic errors ofi 
Pelagius, with regard to Adamic perfection, and a com- 
plete freedom from original degeneracy. 

The method we have used to bring about this recon- 
ciliation is quite plain and uniform. We have kept our 
Scripture Scales even, and used every weight of the sanc- 
tuary without prejudice ; especially those weights which 
the moralists throw aside as Calvinistic and antinomian ; 
and those which the solifidians cast away as Mosaic and 
legal. Thus, by evenly balancing the two gospel axioms, 
we have reunited the doctrines of grace and of justice, which 
heated Augustine and heated Pelagius have separated; 
and we have distinguished our Redeemer's evangelical law 
from our Creator's paradisiacal law ; two distinct laws 
these, wliich those illustrious antagonists have confounded : 
and we flatter ourselves that, by this artless means, 
another step is taken towards bringing the two partial 
gospels of the day to the old standards of the one complete 
gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I have done unfolding our reconciling plan ; but the dis- 
ciples of Augustine, rallied by Calvin, have not done 
attacking it. I hope that I have answered the objections 
of ]\Ir. Hill, Mr. Toplady, and Mr. Martin, against the 
evangelical perfection which we defend. But another 
noted divine of their persuasion comes up to their assist- 
ance : it is the Rev. Mr. Matthew Henry, who has 
deservedly got a great name among the Calvinists, by his 
valuable Exposition of the Bible, in five foho volumes. 



128 LAST CHECK 

This huge piece of ordnance carries a heavy hall, which 
threatens the very heart of our sinless gospel. It is too 
late to attempt an abrupt and silent flight : let then Mr. 
Henry fire away. If our doctrine of an evangelically- 
sinless perfection is founded upon a rock, it will stand ; 
the ponderous ball, which seems likely to demolish it, will 
rebound against the doctrine of indwelling sin; and the 
standard of Christian liberty, which we wave, will be more 
respected than ever. 

" Corruption," saith that illustrious opponent, " is left 
remaining in the heart of good Christians, that they may 
learn war, may keep on the whole armour of God, and 
stand continually upon their guard." " Thus corruption 
is driven out of the heart of believers by little and little. 
The work of sanctification is carried on gradually ; but 
that judgment will, at length, be brought forth into a 
complete victory," namely, when death shall come to the 
assistance of the atoning blood, and of the Spirit's power. 
That this is Mr. Henry's doctrine is evident from his com- 
ment on Gal. V. 17 : " In a renewed man, where there is 
something of a good principle, there is a struggle between," 
&c., " the remainders of sin, and the beginnings of grace ; 
and this Christians must expect will be their exercise as 
long as they continue in this world ; " or, to speak more 
intelligibly, till they go into the death-purgatory. 

Not to mention here again Gal. v. 17, &c., Mr. Henry 
builds this uncomfortable doctrine upon the following 
text : " The Lord thy God will put out those nations 
before thee by little and little ; thou mayest not consume 
them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon 
thee." Deut. vii. 22. And he gives us to understand, that 
" pride, and security, and other sins," are " the enemies 
more dangerous than the beasts of the field, that 
would be apt to increase" upon us, if God delivered 
us from indwelling sin, that is, from the remains of 
pride, and carnal security, and other sins. This is 
backed by an appeal to the following text : " Now these 
are the nations which the Lord left to prove Israel 
by them, to know whether they" (the Israelites) 
" would hearken to the commandments of the Lord." 



TU Ar^XmOMIANISM. 129 

Judges iii. 1, 4. See Mr. Henry's Exposition on these 
passages. 

To this we answer : 1 . That it is absurd to build the 
mighty doctrine of a death-purgatory upon an historical 
allusion. If such allusions were proofs, we could easily 
multiply our arguments ; we could say, that sin is to be 
utterly destroyed, because Moses says, " The Lord deli- 
vered into our hands Og, and all his people, and we smote 
liim until none was left to him remaining ;" Deut. iii. 3; 
because "Joshua smote Horam, king of Gezer, and his 
people, until he had left him none remaining;" Deut. 
X. 83 ; because Saul was commanded " utterly to destroy 
the sinners, — the Amalekites," and lost his crown for 
sparing their king ; because, when God " overthrew Pha- 
raoh and all his host, there remained not so much as one 
of them ;" Exod. xiv. 28; because, when God " rained fire 
upon Sodom and Gomorrah, he overthrew all their" 
Avicked "inhabitants;" and because Moses says, "I took 
your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with 
lire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until 
it was as small as dust, and cast the dust thereof into the 
brook." Deut. ix. 21. But we sliould blush to build the 
doctrine of Christian perfection upon so absurd and 
slender a fomidation ; and yet such a foundation would 
be far more solid than that on which Mr, Henry builds 
the doctrine of Christian imperfection, and of the neces- 
sary indwelling of sin in the most holy believers. For, 

2. Before God permitted the Canaanites to remain in 
the land, he had said, " When ye are passed over Jordan, 
then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land 
before you, and destroy all their pictures ; for I have 
given you the land to possess it. But if ye will not 
drive out the inhabitants of the land before you, then it 
shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of 
them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your 
sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. 
And, moreover, I shall do unto you, as I thought to do 
unto them." Numbers xxxiii. 51, &c. Hence it appears, 
that the sparing of the Canaanites was a punishment 
inflicted upon the Israelites, as well as a favour shown to 

G 5 



130 LAST CHECK 

the Canaanites, some of whom, like Rahab and the 
Gibeoniteg, probably turned to the Lord, and, as God's 
creatures, enjoyed his saving mercy in the land of pro- 
mise. But is indwelling sin one of God's creatures, that 
God should show it any favour, and should refuse his 
assistance to the feithful believers who are determined 
to give it no quarter ? Can indwelling sin be converted 
to God, as the indwelling Canaanites might, and as some 
of them undoubtedly were ? 

3. But the capital flaws of Mr. Henry's argument are, 
I apprehend, two suppositions, the absurdity of which is 
glaring : " Corruption," says he, " is left remaining in the 
heart of good Christians, that they may learn war, may 
keep on the whole armour of God, and stand continually 
upon their guard." Just as if Christ had not learned 
war, kept on the breastplate of righteousness, and stood 
continually upon his guard, without the help of indwell- 
ing sin ! Just as if the world, the devil, the weakness of 
the flesh, and death, our last enemy, with which our 
Lord so severely conflicted, were not adversaries powerful 
enough to prove us, to engage us to learn war, and to 
make us keep on and use " the whole armour of God" 
to the end of our life ! The other absurd supposition is 
that "pride, and security, and other sins," (which are 
supposed to be typified by " the wild beasts" mentioned 
in Deut. vii. 22,) " will increase upon us" by the destruc- 
tion of " indwelling sin." But is it not as ridiculous to 
suppose this, as to say, " Pride shall increase upon us by 
the destruction of pride ; and carnal security will gather 
strength by the extirpation of carnal security, and by, 
the implanting of constant watchfulness, which is a 
branch of the Christian perfection which we contend 
for?" 

4. With respect to the inference which Mr. Henry 
draws from these words, " Thou mayest not consume 
them at once ; the Lord will put them out before thee 
by little and little ;" is it not highly absurd also ? Does 
he give us the shadow of an argument to prove, that this 
verse was spoken of our indwelling corruptions ? And 
suppose it was, would this prove that the doctrine of a 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 131 

death-purgatory is true? You say to a greedy person, 
" You must eat your dinner by little and little, you can- 
not swallow it down at one gulp : " a farmer teaches his 
son to plough, and says, " We cannot plough this field at 
once, but we may plough it by little and little ; that is, 
by making one furrow after another, till we end the last 
furrow." Hence I draw the following inferences : we eat 
our meals and plough our fields by little and little ; and 
therefore no dinner can be eaten, and no field ploughed, 
before death, A surgeon says, that "the healing of a 
wound is carried on gradually;" hence his prejudiced 
mate runs away with the notion, that no wound can be 
healed so long as a patient is alive. Who does not see 
the flaw of these conclusions ? 

5. But the greatest absurdity, I apprehend, is yet 
behind. Not to observe, that we do not remember to 
have read any command in our bibles not to consume sin 
at once ; or any declaration, that God will put it out only 
" by Uttle and little ;" we ask. What length of time do 
you suppose God means ? You make him say, that he 
•will make an end of our indwelling sin " by little and 
little : " do you think he means four days, four years, or 
fourscore years ? If you say, that God cannot or will 
not whoUy cleanse the thoughts of our hearts under four- 
score years, you send all who die under that age into hell, 
or into some purgatory where they must wait till the 
eighty years of their conflict with indwelling sin are 
ended. If you say, that God can or will do it in four 
days, but not under, you absurdly suppose, that the peni- 
tent thief remained at least three days in paradise full of 
mdwelling sin ; seeing his sanctification was to be " carried 
on gradually" in the space of four days at least. If you 
are obliged to grant, that when the words " by little and 
little " are applied to the destruction of indwelling sin, 
they may mean four hours, (the time which the penitent 
thief probably lived after his conversion,) as well as four 
days, do not you begin to be ashamed of your system ? 
And if you reply, that death alone fully - extii-pates in- 
dwelling sin, does not this favourite tenet of yours over- 
turn Mr. Henry's doctrine about the necessity of the slow, 



132 LAST CHECK 

gradual destruction of indwelling sin ? May not a sinnel* 
believe in a moment, when God helps him to believe ? 
And may'not a believer, whom you suppose necessarily 
full of indwelling sin as long as he is in this world, die 
in a moment ? If you answer in the negative, you deny 
the sudden death of John the baptist, St. Jamesj and 
St. Paul, who had their heads cut off in a moment : in a 
word, you deny that any believer can die suddenly. If 
you reply in the affirmative, you give up the point, and 
grant that indwelling sin may be instantaneously de- 
stroyed. And now what becomes of Mr. Henry's argu- 
ment, which supposes that sanctification can never be 
complete without a "long, gradual process ;" and that the 
extirpation of sin cannot take place but " by little and 
little?" 

I have set before thee, reader, the lights and shades of 
our doctrine ; I have produced our arguments, and those 
of our opponents ; and now, say which of them bear the 
stamp of imperfection. If thou pronounce that Urim 
and Thummin, " light" and " perfection," belong to the 
arguments of Mr. Hill, Mr. Toplady, Mr. Martin, and 
Mr. Henry, I must lay by my pen, and deplore the infeli- 
city of our having a reason, which unsays in my breast 
what it says in thine. But if thou find, after mature 
deliberation, that our arguments are " light in the Lord," 
as being more agreeable to the dictates of unprejudiced 
reason than those of our antagonists, more conformable 
to the plain declarations of the sacred writers, fitter to 
encourage believers in the Avay of holiness, more suitable 
to the nature of undefiled religion, and better adapted to 
the display of the Redeemer's glory; I shall enjoy the 
double pleasure of embracing the truth, and of embracing 
her together with thee. In the mean time, closing here 
the argumentative part of this essay, I just beg the con- 
tinuance of thy favourable attention, while I practically 
address perfect pharisees, prejudiced imperfectionists, i|n- 
perfect believers, and perfect Christians. 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 133 

SECTION XVII. 

I ADDRESS you first, ye perfect Christian pharisees, because 
ye are most ready to profess Christian perfection, though, 
alas ! ye stand at the greatest distance from perfect humi- 
lity, the grace which is most essential to the perfect 

Christian's character; and because the enemies of our 
doctrine make use of you first, when they endeavour to 
root it up from the earth. 

That ye may know whom I mean by " perfect Chris- 
tian pharisees," give me leave to show you your own 
picture in the glass of a plain description. Ye have pro- 
fessedly entered into the fold where Christ's sheep, 
which are perfected in love, rest all at each other's feet, 
and at the feet of the Lamb of God. But how have ye 
entered? by Christ the door? or at the door of pre- 
sumption ? Not by Christ the door ; for Christ is meek- 
ness and lowliness manifested in the flesh, but ye are still 
ungentle and fond of praise. When he pours out his soul 
as a divine prophet, he says, " Learn of me, for I am meek 
and lowly in heart : take my yoke upon you, and ye shall 
find rest unto your souls." But ye overlook this humble 
door ; your proud, gigantic minds are above stooping low 
enough to follow Him who " made himself of no reputa- 
tion," that he might raise us to heavenly honours ; and 
who, to pour just contempt upon human pride, had his 
first night's lodging in a stable, and spent his last night 
partly on the cold ground, in a storm of divine wrath, and 
partly in an ignominious confinement, exposed to the 
greatest indignities which Jews and gentiles could pour 
upon him. He rested his infant head upon hay, his dying 
head upon thorns. A manger was his cradle, and a cross 
Lis death-bed. Thirty years he travelled from the sordid 
stable to the accursed tree, unnoticed by his own peculiar 
people. In the brightest of his days, poor fishermen, some 
Calilean women, and a company of shouting children, 
formed all his retinue. Shepherds were his first attendants, 
and malefactors his last companions. 

His first beatitude was, "Blessed are the poor iii 



134 LAST CHECK 

spirit ;" and the last, " Blessed are ye when men shall 
revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil 
against you falsely, for my sake." His first doctrine was, 
" Repent ; " nor was the last unlike to it : " If I have 
washed your feet, ye ought also to wash one another's 
feet ; for I have given you an example, that ye should do 
as I have done to you. He that will be first among you, 
let him be the last of all." Now, far from practising with 
godly sincerity this last lesson of our humble Lord, ye do 
not so much as truly relish the first ; ye do not delight in, 
nay, ye abhor, penitential poverty of spirit. Your humi- 
lity is not cordial, and wrought into your nature by grace ; 
but complimental, and woven into your carriage by art. 
Ye are humble in looks, in gestures, in voice, in dress, in 
behaviour, so far as external humility helps you to secure 
the reputation of perfect Christians, at which ye aspire 
from a motive of pharisaic ambition; but ye continue 
strangers to the childlike simplicity and unafi^ected broken- 
ness of Christ's perfect disciples. Ye are the very reverse 
of the " Israelites in whom ther^/is no guile ; " ye resem- 
ble the artful Gibeonites, who, for a time, imposed upon 
Joshua's artless simplicity ; your feigned profession of 
special grace deceives those of God's children who have 
more of the simplicity of the dove, than of the serpent's 
wisdom. Ye choose the lowest place, but ye do not love 
it ; if ye cheerfully take it, it is not among your equals, 
but among your inferiors, because you think, that such a 
condescending step may raise the credit of your humility, 
without endangering your superiority. If ye stoop, and 
go down, it is not because ye see yourselves unworthy of 
the seat of honour ; but because ye hope, that people will, 
by and by, say to you, " Come up higher." Your phari- 
saic cunning aims at wearing at once the coronet of 
genuine humility and the crown of self-exalting pride. 
Ye love to be esteemed of men for your goodness and 
devotion. Ye want to be admired for your exactness, 
zeal, and gracious attainments. The pride of the Jewish 
pharisees was coarse in comparison of yours ; they wore 
the rough garment, and you wear the silks, of spiritual 
vanity : and even when ye dye them in the blood of the 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 135 

Lamb, which you extol in word, it is to draw the con- 
fidence of humble Christians by your Christian appear- 
ance and language, more than to follow the propensity 
of a new nature, which loves to be clothed with humi- 
lity, and feels itself in its own centre when it rests in 
deep poverty of spirit, and sees that God is all in all. 

One of the greatest ends of Christ's coming into the 
world was to empty us of ourselves, and to fill us with 
humble love ; but ye are stiU full of yourselves, and void 
of Christ, that is, void of humility incarnate. Ye still aim 
at some wrong mark, whether it be self-glory, self- 
interest, self-pleasure, self-party, or self -applause ; in a 
word, one selfish scheme or another, contrary to the pure 
love of God and of your neighbour, secretly destroys the 
root of your profession, and may be compared to the 
unseen worm that ate the root of Jonah's gourd. Ye 
have a narrow, contracted spirit ; ye do not gladly sacri- 
fice your private satisfaction, your interest, your reputa- 
tion, your prejudices, to the general interest of truth and 
love, and to the public good of the whole body of Christ. 
Ye are yet in secret bondage to men, places, and things. 
Ye do not heartily entertain the wisdom from above, 
which is " pure, gentle, easy to be entreated, and full of 
mercy." Nay, ye are above conviction; gross sinners 
yield to truth before you. Like Jehu, ye are zealous, 
and ye pretend that it is for the Lord of hosts; but, 
alas ! it is for your opinions, your party, your honour. 
In a word, ye do not walk in constant, solemn expecta- 
tion of death and judgment ; your will is not broken ; 
your carnal confidence is yet alive; the heavenly Dove 
does not sit in your breast; self, wrapt up in the cloak of 
humility, is still set up in your heart, and in secret you 
serve that cursed idol more than God. Satan, trans- 
formed into an angel of light, has artfully led you to 
the profession of Christian perfection, through a circle 
of external performances, through glorious forms of doc- 
trme in the letter, and through a fair show of zeal for 
complete holiness : the Lord, to punish your formality, 
has, in part, given you up to your delusion ; and now ye 
as much believe yourselves perfect Christians, as the 



13U LAST CHECK 

pharisees, in our Lord's days, believed themselves perfect 
Jews. 

Mr. "Wesley, in his Plain Account of Christian Perfec- 
tion, has borne his faithful testimony against such wit- 
nesses of perfect love as ye are. If ye despise this 
address, regard his remarks : " Others," says he, " who 
think they have the direct witness of their being renewed 
in love, are, nevertheless, manifestly wanting in the fruit : 
some are undoubtedly wanting in longsuffering, — Christian 
resignation. They do not see the hand of God in what- 
ever occurs, and cheerfully embrace it. They do not ' in 
every thing give thanks,' and ' rejoice evermore.' They 
are not happy, at least, not always happy ; for sometimes 
they complain ; they say, ' This is hard.' Some are want- 
ing in gentleness ; they resist evil, instead of turning the 
other cheek. They do not receive reproach with gentle- 
ness ; no, nor even reproof. Nay, they are not able to 
bear contradiction without the appearance, at least, of 
resentment : if they are reproved or contradicted, though 
mildly, they do not take it well ; they behave with more 
distance and reserve than they did before," &c. " Some 
are wanting in goodness ; they are not kind, mild, sweet, 
amiable, soft, and loving, at all times, in their spirit, in 
their w^ords, in their look, in their air, in the whole tenor 
of their behaviour ; and that to all, high and low, rich and 
poor, without respect of persons ; particularly to them that 
are out of the way, to opposers, and to those of their own 
household : they do not long, study, endeavour by every 
means to make all about them happy. Some are wanting 
in fidelity, — a nice regard to truth, simplicity, and godly 
sincerity. Their love is hardly without dissimulation; 
something like guile is found in their mouth. To avoid 
roughness, they lean to the other extreme ; they are 
smooth to an excess, so as scarce to avoid a degree of 
fawning. Some are wanting in meekness, — quietness of 
spirit, composure, evenness of temper ; they are up and 
down, sometimes high, sometimes low ; their mind is 
not well balanced. Their affections are either not in due 
proportion : they have too much of the one, too little of 
the other; or they are not duly mixed and tempered 



TO ANTINOMIArvi,-T. 137 

together, so as to counterpoise each other. Hence there 
is often a jar ; their soul is out of tune, and cannot make 
the true harmony. Some are wanting in temperance; 
they do not steadily use that kind and degree of food 
which they know, or might knoAV, would most conduce to 
the health, strength, and vigour of the body. Or they are 
not temperate in sleep ; they do not rigorously adhere to 
what is best for body and mind ; they use neither fasting 
nor abstinence," &c. 

I have described your delusion ; but who can describe 
its fatal consequences ? Who can tell the mischief it has 
done, and continues to do ? The few sincere perfection- 
ists, and the multitude of captious imperfectionists, have 
equally found you out. The former are grieved for you ; 
and the latter triumph through you. 

When the sincere perfectionists consider the inconsist- 
ency of your profession, they are ready to give up their 
faith in Christ's all-cleansing blood, and their hope of 
getting a clean heart in this life. They are tempted to 
follow the multitude of professors, who sit themselves down 
in self-imputed righteousness, or in solifidian notions of 
an ideal perfection in Christ. And it is well if some of 
them have not already yielded to the temptation, and 
begun to fight against the hopes, which they once enter- 
tained, of loving God with all their heart. It is well if 
some, through you, have not been led to say, " I once 
sweetly enjoyed the thought of doing the will of God on 
earth, as it is done in heaven. Once I hopefully prayed, 
God would so cleanse my heart, that I might perfectly 
love him, and worthily magnify his holy name, in this 
^vo^ld. But now I have renounced my hopes ; and I 
equally abhor the doctrine of evangelical perfection, and 
that of evangelical worthiness. I have made a firm 
agreement with sin. It shall dwell in my heart so long as 
ray soul shall dwell in my body. Neither the word nor 
the Spirit of Christ shall eject it. When I was a young 
convert, I believed that Christ could really make an end of 
all moral pollution, cast out the man of sin, and cleanse us 
from heart -sin, as well as from outward iniquity, in this life ; 
tJUt I soon met with unhumbled, self-willed people, who 



J 38 LAST CHECK 

boldly stood up for tLis glorious liberty, and made mfe 
question the Jiruth of the doctrine. Nay, in process of 
time, I found that some of those who most confidently 
professed to have attained this salvation were farther from 
the gentleness, simplicity, catholic spirit, and unfeigned 
humility of Christ, than many believers who had never 
considered the doctrine of Christian perfection. These 
offences striking in with some disappointments which I 
myself met with, in feebly seeking the pearl of perfect 
love, made me conclude that it can no more be found than 
the philosopher's stone, and that they are all either fools 
or knaves who set believers upon seeking it. And now I 
everywhere decry the doctrine of perfection as a dangerous 
delusion. I set people against it wherever I go ; and my 
zeal in this respect has been attended with the greatest 
success. I have damped the hopes of many perfectionists, 
and I have proselyted several to the doctrine of Christian 
imperfection. "With them I now quietly wait to be 
purified from indwelling sin in the article of death, and 
to be made perfect in another world, not only in duty to 
my parents, in loyalty to the king, in charity to the poor, 
and love to my wife ; but also in patience towards those 
who cross my will, and in love to all my enemies." 

This absurd speech is, I fear, the language of many 
hearts, although it does not openly drop from many lips. 
Thus are you, O ye perfect pharisees, the great instru- 
ments, by which the tempter tears away the shield 
of those unsettled Israelites, who look more at your 
inconsistencies, than they do at the beauty of holiness, 
the promise of God, the blood of Christ, and the power 
of the Spirit. 

But this is not all : as ye destroy the budding faith of 
sincere perfectionists, so ye strengthen the unbelief of the 
solifidians. Through you their prejudices are grown up 
into a fixed detestation of Christian perfection. Ye have 
hardened them in their error, and furnished them with 
plausible arguments to destroy the truth which ye contend 
for. Did ye never hear their triumphs ? " Ha ! ha ! So 
would we have it ! These are some of the people who stand 
up for sinless perfection I they are all alike. Did not I 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 139 

tell you, that you would find them out to be no better than 
temporary monsters ? What monstrous pride ! What 
touchiness, obstinacy, bigotry, and stoicism characterizes 
them ! How do they strain at gnats and swallow camels ! 
I had rather be an open drunkard than a perfectionist. 
Publicans and harlots shall enter into the kingdom of 
heaven before them/' These are the cutting speeches to 
which your glaring inconsistency, and the severe prejudices 
of our opponents, give birth. Is it not deplorable that your 
tempers should thus drive men to abhor the doctrine which 
your lips recommend ? 

And what do ye get by thus dispiriting the real friends 
of Christian perfection, and by furnishing its sworn 
enemies with such sharp weapons against it ? Think ye 
that the mischief ye do shall not recoil upon yourselves ? 
Is not Christ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever ? 
If he detested the perfect pharisaism of unhumbled Jews, 
will he admire the perfect self-righteousness of aspiring 
Christians ? If he formerly " resisted the proud, and 
gave grace to the humble," what reason have ye to hope 
that he will submit to your spiritual pride, and reward 
your religious ostentation with a crown of glory? Ye 
perhaps cry out against antinomianism, and I commend 
you for it ; but are ye not deeply tainted with the worst 
sort of antinomianism, that which starches, stiffens, and 
swells the soul ? Ye justly bear your testimony against 
those who render the law of Christ of none efi'ect to be- 
lievers, by degrading it into a rule, which they strip of 
the punitive and remunerative sanctions with which it 
stands armed in the sacred records. But are ye not 
doubly guilty, who maintain that this law is still in force 
as a law, and nevertheless refuse to pay it sincere, internal 
obedience ? For when ye break the first commandment 
of Christ's evangelical law, by practically discarding peni- 
tential " poverty of spirit ;" and when ye transgress the 
" last," by abhorring the " lowest place," by disdaining to 
"wash each other's feet," and by refusing to "prefer 
others in honour before yourselves ; " are ye not guilty of 
breaking all the law, by breaking it in one point, in the 
capital point of humble love, which runs through all the 



140 LAST CHECK 

parts of the law, as vital blood does through all the pai-ts 
of the ^ody ? O how much more dangerous is the case 
of an unhumbled man, who stiffly walks in robes of self- 
made perfection, than that of an humble man, who, 
through prejudice and the force of example, meekly walks 
in robes of self-imputed righteousness ! 

Behold, thou callest thyself a perfect Christian, and 
restest in the evangelical law of Christ, which is com- 
monly called "the gospel!" Thou makest thy boast of 
God, and knowest his will, and appro vest the things that 
are more excellent, even the way of Christian perfection, 
being instructed out of the gospel ; and art confident that 
thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them who 
are in darkness, an instructer of the foolish, and a teacher 
of babes, or imperfect believers ; having the form of know- 
ledge and of the truth in the gospel. Thou, therefore, 
who teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou 
that preachest another should not break the law of Christ, 
through breaking it dishonourest thou God ? For the 
name of God is blasphemed through you, among those 
who seek an occasion to blaspheme it. See Rom. ii. 17, 
&c. And think ye that ye shall escape the righteous 
judgment of God ? Has Christ no woes but for Jewish 
pharisees ? O, be no longer mistaken ! Before ye are 
punished by being here given up to a reprobate mind, 
and by being hereafter cast into the hell of hypocrites, 
the outer darkness where there will be more weeping, 
wailing, and gnashing of teeth than in any other hell ; 
before ye are overtaken by the awful hour of death, and 
the dreadful day of judgment, practically learn, that 
Christian perfection is the mind which was in Christ; 
especially his humble, meek, quiet mind ; his gentle, free, 
loving spirit. Aim at it by sinking into deep self-abhor- 
rence, and not by using, as ye have hitherto done, the 
empty talk and profession of Christian perfection, as a 
step to reach the top of spiritual pride. 

Mistake me not : I do not blame you for holding the 
doctrine of Christian perfection, but for wilfully missing 
the only way which leads to it; I mean, the humble, 
meek, and loving Jesus, who says, " I am the way, and 



TO ANTINOMIANISlf. 141 

the door ; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved 
into so great salvation. He that entereth not by" this 
" door into" this " sheepfold, but climbeth up some other 
way," (and especially he that climbeth by the way of pha- 
risaic formality,) " the same is a thief and a robber : " he 
robs Christ of his glory, and pretends to what he has no 
more right to, than a thief has to your property. Would 
ye then be right ? Do not cast away the doctrine of 
an evangelically-sinless holiness, but contend more for it 
with your heart than with your lips. With all your soul 
press after such a perfection as Christ, St. Paul, and St. 
John taught and exemplified, — a perfection of meekness 
and humble love. Earnestly believe all the woes which 
the gospel denounces against self-righteous pharisees, and 
all the blessings which it promises to perfect penitents. 
Drink less into the letter, and more into the spirit. 
Thirst after the gentle and humble spirit of Christ, till, 
like a fountain of living water, it spring up to everlasting 
life in your heart. Ye have climbed to the pharisaic per- 
fection of Saul of Tarsus, when, " touching the righteous- 
ness of the law, he was blameless." Would ye now attain 
the evangelical perfection which he was possessed of, 
when he said, ■•' Let us, as many as are perfect, be thus 
minded?" Only follow him through the regeneration; 
f;ill to the dust before God; rise conscious of the blind- 
ness of your heart, meekly deplore it with penitential 
shame ; and, if you follow the directions laid down in the 
third address, I doubt not but, dangerous as your case is 
at present, you Avill be, like St. Paul, as eminent for 
Christian perfection as you have hitherto been for pha- 
risaic holiness. 



SECTION XVIII. 



I FRAu that, next to the persons whom I have just 
addressed, ye injure the cause of holiness, ye believers, 
who have been deluded into doctrinal antinomianism by 
the bad arguments which are answered in the preceding 



142 LAST CHECK 

pages ! Permit me, therefore, to address you next ; nor 
suffer prejudice to make you throw away this expostula- 
tion before you have granted it a fair perusal. 

Ye directly or indirectly plead for the necessary con- 
tinuance of indwelling sin in your own hearts, and in the 
hearts of all true Christians. But may I be so bold as to 
ask. Who gave you leave so to do ? And when were ye 
commissioned to propagate this unholy gospel ? Was it 
at your baptism, when ye were ranked among Christ's 
soldiers and received a Christian name, in token that ye 
would " keep God's holy will and commandments all the 
days of your life ;" and that you would " not be ashamed 
to fight manfully against the world, the flesh, and the 
devil, unto your life's end ?" Are not these three enemies 
strong enough sufficiently to exercise your patience, and 
try your warlike skill to the last ? Did your sponsors 
promise for you that yoU would quarter a fourth enemy, 
called " indwelling sin," in your very breast, lest ye should 
not have enemies enough to fight against ? On the con- 
trary, were ye not exhorted, " utterly to abolish the whole 
body of sin?" If so, is it not strange that ye should 
spend part of your precious time in pleading, under 
various pretexts, for the preservation of heart-sin, a sin 
this, which gives life, warmth, and vigour, to the whole 
body of sin ? And is it not deplorable that, instead of 
conscientiously fulfilling your baptismal engagements, ye 
should attack those who desire to fulfil them by " utterly 
abolishing the whole body of sin ?" 

But ye are, perhaps, ministers of the established church; 
and, in this case, I ask. When did the bishop send you 
upon this strange warfare ? was it at your confirmation, 
in which he bound upon you your solemn obligations to 
*' keep God's holy will and commandments," so as " utterly 
to abolish the whole body of sin ?" Is it probable that he 
commissioned you to pull down what he confirmed, and 
to demolish the perfection which he made you vow to 
attain, and to " walk in all the days of your life ?" If the 
bishop gave you no such commission at your confirmation, 
did he do it at your ordination, when he said, " Receive 
authority to preach the word of God ?" Is there no dif- 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 143 

ference between " the word of God," which cuts up all sin, 
root and branch, and the word of Satan, which asserts the 
propriety of the continuance of heart-sin during the term 
of life ? If not ; did the bishop do it when he exhorted 
and charged you, " never to cease your labour, care, and 
diligence, till you have done aU that lieth in you, to bring 
all such as are committed to your charge to that agi-ee- 
ment of faith, and that perfectness of age in Christ, that 
there shall be no place left among you for error in religion, 
or viciousness in life ;" that is, I apprehend, till the truth 
of the gospel, and the love of the Spirit, have perfectly 
purified the minds and renewed the hearts, of all your 
hearers ? 

How can ye, in all your confessions and sacramental 
offices, renounce sin, the accursed thing which God 
abhors, and which obedient believers detest; and yet 
plead for its life, its strength, its constant energy, so long 
as we are in this world ? We could better bear with 
you, if ye appropriated an hand, or a foot, an eye, or an 
ear, to sin during term of life ; but w^ho can bear your 
pleas for the necessary continuance of sin in the heart ? 
Is it not enough that this murderer of Christ and all 
mankind rambles about the walls of the city ? Will ye 
still insinuate, that he must have the citadel to the last, 
and keep it garrisoned with filthy lusts, base affections, 
bad tempers, or " diabolonians," who, like prisoners, show 
themselves at the gi-ate, and, " like snakes, toads, and wild 
leasts, are the fiercer for being confined?" Who has 
taught you thus to represent Christ as the keeper, and 
not the destroyer, of our corruptions ? If believers are 
truly willing to get rid of sin, but cannot, because Christ 
has bolted their hearts with an adamantine decree, which 
prevents sin from being turned out ; if he has irrevocably 
given leave to indwelling sin to quarter for life in every 
Christian s heart, as the king of France in the last century 
g;ive leave to his dragoons to quarter for some months in 
the houses of the poor oppressed protestants ; who does 
not see that Christ may be culled the protector of in- 
dwelling sin, rather than its enemy ? 
Ye absurdly complain that the doctrine of Christian 



144 LAST CHECK 

perfection does not exalt our Saviour, because it represents 
him as radically saving his obedient people from their 
indwelling sin in this life. But are ye not guilty of the 
very error which ye charge upon us, when ye insinuate that 
he cannot or will not say to our inbred sins, " Those mine 
enemies which will not that I should reign over them, 
bring hither, and slay them before me ? " If a common 
judge has power to pass sentence of death upon all the 
robbers and murderers who are properly prosecuted ; and 
if they are hanged and destroyed in a few days, weeks, or 
months, in consequence of his sentence ; how strangely do 
ye reflect upon Christ, and revive the Agag within us, 
when ye insinuate, that he, the Judge of all, who was 
"manifested for this" very "purpose, that he might 
destroy the works of the devil," so far forgets his errand, 
that he never destroys indwelling sin in one of his willing 
people, so long as they are in this world ; although 
that sin is the capital and most mischievous " work of the 
devil ! " 

f Your doctrine of the necessary continuance of indwell- 
ing sin in all faithful believers, traduces not only the Son 
of man, but also the adorable Trinity. The Father gives 
his only- begotten Son, his Isaac, to be crucified, that the 
ram " sin " may be ofl^ered up and slain ; but you insinuate 
that the life of that cursed ram is secured by a decree, 
which allots it the heart of all believers for a safe retreat, 
and a warm stable, so long as we are in this world. You 
represent the Son as an almighty Saviour, who offers to 
" make us free " from sin ; and yet appoints, that the 
galling yoke of indwelling sin shall remain tied to, and 
bound upon, our very hearts for life. Ye describe the 
Holy Ghost as a sanctifier, who applies Christ's all-cleansing 
blood to the believer's Heart; filling it with the oil of 
holiness and gladness ; and yet ye suppose, that our hearts 
must necessarily remain desperately wicked, and .full of 
indwelling sin ! Is it right to pour contempt upon Christi- 
anity, by charging such inconsistencies upon Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost ? 

It can hardly be expected, that these who thus misrepre- 
sent their God should do their neighbour justice. Hence 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 145 

the liberty which ye take to fix a hlot upon the most holy 
characters. What have the prophets and apostles done to 
vou, that ye should represent them, not only as men who 
had '• a heart partly evil to the last," but also as advocates 
for the necessary indwelling of sin in all believers till 
death ? And why do ye so eagerly take your advantage 
of holy Paul in particular, and catch at a figurative mode 
of speech, to insinuate that he was a "carnal wretch, 
sold under sin," even when he expected " a crown of righte- 
ousness " at the hand of his " righteous Judge," for having 
'• finished his course" with the "just man made perfect ? " 
Nay, what have we done to you, that ye should endeavour 
to take from us the greatest comfort we have in fighting 
against the remains of sin ? Why will ye deprive us of 
the pleasing and purifying hope of taking the Jericho 
which we encompass, and killing the Goliath whom we 
attack ? And what has indwelling sin done for you, that 
ye should still plead for the propriety of its continuance 
in our hearts ? Is it not the root of all outward sin, and 
the spring of all the streams of iniquity, which carry 
desolation through every part of the globe ? If ye hate 
the fruit, why do ye so eagerly contend for the necessary 
continuance of the root? And if ye favour godliness, 
(for many of you undoubtedly do,) why do you put such a 
conclusive argument as this into the mouthsof the wicked? — 
'" Tlk'SL' good men contend for the propriety of indwelling 
sin, that gi-ace may abound. And why should we not 
plead for the propriety of outward sin for the same im- 
portant reason ? Does not God approve of an honest 
heart, which scorns to cloke inward iniquity with outward 
denmrencss ? " 

^ir. Hill has lately published an ingenious dialogue, 
tailed '' A Lash at Enthusiasm," in which he uses an 
iiiu^umnit against pleading for lukewarmness, which, with 
Vfi V little variation, may be retorted against his pleading 
for indwelling sin. " Suffer me," says he, " to put the 
sentiments of such persons" as plead for the middle way 
of lukewarmness, " into the form of a prayer, which we 
may suppose would run in some such expressions as the 
following: — '0 Lord, thy word requires that I should 
^ OL. V. n 



146 LAST CHECK 

love thee with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my 
soul, an4 with all my strength, that I should renounce the 
world,' " and indwelling sin, " ' and should present myself 
as an holy, reasonable, and lively sacrifice unto thee ; but 
Lord, these are such over-righteous extremes,' " and such 
heights of sinless perfection, " ' as I cannot away with. 
Therefore grant that thy love, and a moderate share of the 
love of the world,' " or of indwelling sin, " ' may both 
reign,' " or at least continue, " ' in my heart at once. I ask 
it for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.' " Mr. Hill justly adds, 
" Now, dear madam, if you are shocked at such a petition, 
consider that it is the exact language of your own heart, 
whilst you can plead for Avhat you call the ' middle way ' 
of religion." Page 26. And I beg leave to take up his 
own argument, and to add with equal propriety, " Now, dear 
sirs, if you are shocked at such a petition, consider that it is 
the exact language of your own hearts, whilst ye can 
plead for what ye call ' indwelling sin,' or the remains of 
sm. 

Nor can I see what ye get by such a conduct. The 
Excruciating thorn of indwelling sin sticks in your hearts : 
fwe assert that Christ can and will extract it, if ye plead 
[his promise of sanctifying you wholly, in soul, body, and 
spirit. But ye say, " This cannot be : the thorn must 
stay in tiU death extract it ; and the leprosy shall cleave 
to the walls till the house is demolished." Just as if 
Christ, by radically cleansing the lepers in the days of his 
flesh, had not given repeated proofs of the absurdity of 
your argument ! Just as if part of the gospel was not, 
" The lepers are cleansed," and, " If the Son make you 
free, ye shall be free indeed ! " 

If ye get nothing in pleading for Christian imperfection, 
permit me to tell you what you lose by it, and what ye 
might get by steadily going on to perfection, 

1. If ye earnestly aimed at Christian perfection, ye 
would have a bright testimony in your own soul, that 
you are sincere, and that ye walk agreeably to your bap- 
tismal engagements. I have already observed, that some 
'of the most pious Calvinists doubt, if those who do not 
pursue Christian perfection are Christians at all Hence 



TO AXTINOMIAXISM. 147 

it follows, tliat the more earnestly you pursue it, the 
stroDf^er will be your confidence, that you are upright 
Christians. And when ye shall be perfected in love, ye 
Bhall have that eyidence of youi' sincerity which will 
perfectly "cast out " servile ^' fear which hath torment," and 
aourish the filial fear Avhich has safety and delight. It is 
tard to conceive how we can constantly enjoy the full 
assurance of faith out of the state of Christian perfection. 
For so long as a Christian inwardly breaks Christ's evan- 
gelical law, he is justly condemned in his ow^n conscience. 
If his heart does not condemn him for it, it is merely 
because he is asleep in the lap of antinomianism. On 
the other hand, says St. John, " If our heart condemn us, 
God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things " 
that make for our condemnation. But if we " love in deed 
and in truth," which none but the perfect do at all times, 
" hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall 
assure our hearts before him." 1 John iii. 18 — 20, 

2. The perfect Christian, who has left all to follow 
Christ, is peculiarly near and dear to God. He is, if I 
may use the expression, one of God's favourites ; and his 
prayers are remarkably answered. This ^^ ill appear to you 
indubitable, if ye can receive the testimony of these Avho 
are perfected in obedient love. " Beloved," say they, "what- 
soever we ask, we receive of him; because we keep Ins 
commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in 
his sight ; " that is, because we are perfected in obedient 
love. 1 John iil. 21, 22. This peculiar blessing ye lose by 
despising Christian i)erfcction. Xay, so great is the union 
which subsists Ixtwcen God and the perfect members of 
his Son, that it is compared to dwelling in God, and 
having (;()d dwelling in us, in such a manner, that the 
Father, the Son, and the Comforter are said to " make 
their abcnle " with us. " At that d;iy," ^vhen ye shall be 
pcrfretcd in one, "ye shall know that 1 am in my Father, 
and you in me, and I in you. If a man love me, he will 
keep my words ; and my Father wdll love him ; and we 
will come to him, and make our abode with him." John 
xiv. 2(». :!:{. Again : " lie that keepeth God's command- 
ments dwelleth in God, and God in him." 1 John iii. 24. 

II 2 



148 LAST CHECK 

" Ye are my " dearest " friends, if ye do whatsoever I 
commai^d you ;"' that is, if ye attain the perfection of your 
dispensation. John xv. 14. Once more ; " Keep my com- 
mandments, and I will pray the Father, and he shall give 
you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for 
ever." John xiv. 15, 16. From these scriptures it appears, 
that, under every dispensation, the perfect, or they who 
keep the commandments, have unspeakable advantages, 
from which the lovers of imperfection debar themselves. 

3. Ye bring far less glory to God, in the state of 
indwelling sin, than ye would do if ye were perfected in 
love ; for perfect Christians (all things being equal) glorify 
Grod more than those who remain full of inbred iniquity. 
Hence it is, that, in the very chapter where our Lord so 
strongly presses Christian perfection upon his disciples, he 
says, " Let your light so shine before men, that they may 
see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in 
beaven." Matt. v. 16. For, " herein is my Father glori- 
fied, that ye bear much fruit." John xv. 8. It is true, 
that the fruit of the perfect is not always relished by men 
who judge only according to appearances ; but God, who 
judges righteous judgment, finds it rich and precious ; 
and therefore the two mites which the poor widow gave 
with a cheerful and perfect heart were more precious in 
his account, and brought him more glory, than all the 
money which the imperfect worshippers cast into the 
treasury, though some of them " cast in much." Hence 
also our Lord commanded, that the work of perfect love 
which Mary wrought, when she anointed his feet for his 
burial, " should be told for a memorial of her wherever 
this" (the Christian) "gospel should be preached in the 
whole world." Such is the honour which the Lord puts 
upon the branches in him that bear fruit to perfection. 

4. The perfect Christian, all things being equal, is a 
more useful member of society than the imperfect. Never 
will ye be such humble men, such good parents, such 
dutiful children, such loving brothers, such loyal subjects, 
such kind neighbours, such indulgent husbands, and such 
faithful friends, as when ye shall have obtained the perfect 
sincerity of obedience. Ye will then, in your degree, 



TO AXTIXOMIANISM. 149 

have the simplicity of the gentle dove, the patience of the 
hiljorious ox, the courage of the magnanimous lion, and 
tlio wisdom of the wary serpent, ■\\dthout any of its poison. 
In your little sphere of action, ye will abound in the work 
of faith, the patience of hope, and the labour of love, far 
more than ye did before ; for a field properly weeded, and 
cleared from briers, is naturally more fruitfiil than one 
which is shaded by spreading brambles, or filled with the 
indwelling roots of noxious weeds ; it being a capital mis- 
take of the spiritual husbandmen, who till the Lord's field 
in mystical Geneva, to suppose, that the plant of humility 
thrives best when the roots of indwelling sins are twisted 
around its root. 

5. Xone but "just men made perfect" are "meet to 
be made partakers of the inheritance among the saints in 
light ; " an inheritance this, which no man is fit for, till 
he has " purified himself from all filthiness of the flesh 
and spirit." If modem divines, therefore, assure you, that 
a believer, full of indwelling sin, has a full title to heaven, 
believe them not ; for the Holy Ghost has said, that the 
believer who '• breaks the law " of liberty " in one point, is 
guilty of all." and that " no defilement shall enter " into 
heaven. And our Lord himself has assured us, that " the 
pure in heait shall see God; " and that they who "were 
ready " for that si^lit " went in with the bridegroom to 
the marriage-feast of the Lamb." And who is ready? 
Undouljtcdiy tlu' believer whose lamp is trimmed and 
burning. Hut is a spiritual lamp trimmed, when its 
ilanu' is darkened by the black fungus of indwelling sin ? 
Again : who shall be saved into glory, but the man whose 
"heart is Avashed from iniquity?" But is that heart 
washed which continues full of indwelling corruption? 
AVoi' !>(., therefore, to the heathens, Jews, and Christians 
who trifle away the accei)ted time, and die out of a state 
of heathen, Jewish, or Cliristiaii perfection ! They have 
no chance ol" going to heaven, but through the purgatory 
juraclu-d by the heathens, the papists, and the Calvinists. 
And should the notions of these purgatories be groundless, 
It unavoidably follows, that unpurged or imperfect souls 
must, at death, rank with the unready souls, whom our 



J 50 LAST CHECK 

Lord calls " foolish virgins," and against whom the door 
of heaven will be shut. How awful is this consideration, 
my dear brethren ! How should it make us stretch every 
nerve, till we have attained the perfection of our dispensa- 
tion ! I would not encourage tormenting fears in an 
unscriptural manner ; but I should rejoice if all who call 
Jesus " Lord," would mind his solemn declarations : " I 
say unto you," my friends, " Be not afraid of them that 
kill the body," &c. ; " but I will forewarn you whom you 
shall fear : fear Him who, after he hath killed, hath 
power to cast into hell : yea, I say unto you, Fear him," 
who will burn, in the fire of wrath, those who harbour 
the indwelling man of sin, lest he should be utterly con- 
sumed by the fire of love. 

Should ye cry out against this doctrine, and ask if all 
imperfect Christians are in a damnable state ; we reply, 
that so long as a Christian believer sincerely presses after 
Christian perfection, he is safe, because he is in the way 
of duty ; and were he to die at midnight, before midnight 
God would certainly bring him to Christian perfection, or 
bring Christian perfection to him ; for we " are confident 
of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work 
in them will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ," 
because they " work out their own salvation with fear and 
trembling." But if a believer falls, loiters, and rests upon 
foimer experiences, depending upon a self-made, phari- 
saical perfection, or upon a self-imputed, antinomian per- 
fection ; our chief message to him is that of St. Paul : 
" Awake, thou that sleepest, awake to righteousness, and 
sin not , for thou hast not the " heart-purifying " know- 
ledge of God, which is eternal life. Arise from the 
dead ; " call for oil, " and Christ will give thee light." 
Otherwise, thou shalt share the dreadful fate of the 
lukewarm Laodiceans, and of the foolish virgins, whose 
"/lamps went out," instead of " shining more and more 
/io the perfect day." 

6. This is not all. As ye will be fit for judgment, and a 
glorious heaven, when ye shall be perfected in love; so 
you will actually enjoy a gracious heaven in your own 
soul. You will possess within you the kingdom of God, 



TO ANTIXOMIANISM. 151 

which consists in settled " righteousness, peace, and joy in 
the Holy Ghost." But so long as ye neglect Christian 
perfection, and continue " sold under " indwelling " sin," 
ye not only risk the loss of the heaven of heavens, but ye 
iose a little heaven upon earth ; for perfect Christians are 
so full of peace and love, that they " triumph in Christ 
with joy unspeakable and full of glory," and " rejoice in 
tribulation," Avith a "patience" which "has its perfect 
work." Yea, they " count it all joy when they fall into 
divers trials ; " and such is their deadness to the world, 
that they " are exceeding glad, Avhen men say all manner 
of evil of them falsely for Christ's sake." How desirable 
is such a state ! And who, but the blessed above, can 
enjoy a happiness superior to that of him who can say ? — 
" I am ready to be offered up. The sting of death is sin, 
and the strength of sin is the law ; but, death, where is 
thy sting ? Not in my heart, since the righteousness of 
the law is fulfilled in us, Avho walk not after the flesh, but 
after the Spirit. Not in my mind, for to be spiritually- 
minded is life and peace." Now, this peculiar happiness 
ye lose, so long as ye continue imperfect Christians. 

7. But, supposing a Christian who dies in a state of 
Christian imperfection, can escape damnation, and make 
shift to get to heaven, it is certain that he cannot go into 
the glorious mansion of perfect Christians, nor shine 
among the stars of the first magnitude. The wish of my 
soul is, that, if God's wisdom has so ordered it, imperfect 
Christians may one day rank among perfect Jews, or 
perfect heathens. But, even upon this supposition, Avhat 
will they do with their indwelling sin ? For a perfect 
gentile and a perfect Jew are " without guile," according to 
their light, as well as a perfect Christian. Lean not then 
to the doctrine of the propriety and continuance of in- 
dwelling sin till death ; a doctrine this, on which a 
i^ocrates or a JMelchizedek would be afraid to venture his 
heathen perfection and eternal salvation. On the con- 
trary, by Christian perfection ye may rise to the brightest 
crown of righteousness, and " shine like the sun in the 
kingdom of your Father." for a noble ambition to 
obtain one of the first seats in glory ! for a constant, 



152 LAST CHECK 

evangelical striving, to have the most " abundant entrance 
ministered unto you into the kingdom of God !" O for a 
throne *among those peculiarly redeemed saints who sing 
the new song, which none can learn but themselves ! It 
is not Christ's to give those exalted thrones out of mere 
distinguishing grace : no ; they may be forfeited, for they 
shall be given to those for whom they are prepared ; and 
they are prepared for them who, evangelically speaking, 
are " worthy." " They shall walk with me in white, for 
they are worthy," says Christ ; and they shall " sit at my 
right hand, and at my left, in my kingdom," who shall be 
worthy of that honour : " for them that honour me, says 
the Lord, I will honour." " Behold, I come quickly ; my 
reward is with me, and I will render to every man accord- 
ing to his works." And what reward, think ye, will 
Christ give you, my dear, mistaken brethren, if he finds 
you still passing jests upon the doctrine of Christian per- 
fection, which he so strongly recommends ? still pleading 
for the continuance of indwelling sin, which he so greatly 
abhors ? 

8. Your whole system of indwelling sin and imputed 
perfection stands upon two of the most dangerous and 
false maxims which were ever advanced. The first, 
which begets antinomian presumption, runs thus : " Sin 
cannot destroy us either in this world or in the world to 
come :" and the second, which is productive of antino- 
mian despair, is, " Sin cannot be destroyed in this world." 

how hard is it for those who worship where these 
syren songs pass for sweet songs of Sion, not to be drawn 
into one of these fatal conclusions ! " What need is 
there of attacking sin with so much eagerness, since, even 
in the name of the Lord, I cannot destroy it ? And why 
should I resist it with so much watchfulness, since ray 
eternal life and salvation are absolutely secured, and the 
most poisonous cup of iniquity cannot destroy me, though 

1 should drink of it every day for months or years ?" If 
ye fondly think, that you can neither go backward into a 
sinful, cursed Egypt, nor yet go forward into a sinless, 
holy Canaan ; how natural will it be for you to say, 
" Soul, take thy ease," and rest awhile in this wilderness 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 153 

on the pillow of self-imputed perfection ! O, how many 
are surprised by the midnight cry in this Laodicean rest ! 
What numbers meet death with a solifidian, "Lord! Lord !" 
in their mouths, and with indwelling sin in their hearts ! 
And how inexpressible will be our horror, if we perceive 
our want of holiness and Christian perfection, only when 
it will be too late to attain them ! To conclude : — 

9. Indwelling sin is not only the sting of death, but the 
very hell of hells, if I may use the expression ; for a sin- 
less saint in a local hell would dwell in an holy, loving 
God ; and, of consequence, in a spiritual heaven : like 
Sliadrach, in Xebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace, he might 
have devouring flames curling about him ; but, within 
him, he would still have the flame of divine love, and the 
joy of a good conscience. But so much of indwelling sin 
as we carry about us, so much of indwelling hell, so much 
of the sting which pierces the damned, so much of the 
spiritual fire which will burn up the wicked, so much of 
the never-d}ang worm which will prey upon them, so 
much of the dreadful instrument which will rack them, so 
much of Satan's image, which will frighten them, so much 
of the characteristic by which the devil's children shall 
ho distinguished from the children of God, so much of 
the black mark whortby the goats shall be separated from 
the sheep. To plead, therefore, for the continuance of 
indwelling sin, is no l)etter than to plead for keeping in 
vour hearts one of the sharpest stings of death, and one 
cf the hottest coals in hell-fire. On the other hand, to 
Mttain Christian perfection is to have the last feature of 
IJoliafs image erased from your loving souls, the last bit 
ot the sting of death extracted from your composed 
)"icasts, ajid the last spark of hell-fire extinguished in 
your jxaet'ful bosoms. It is to enter into the spiritual 
rost which remains on earth for the people of God; a 
delightful rest tliis, where your soul Avill enjoy a calm in 
the midst of outward storms; and where your spirit will 
no longer be tossed by the billows of swelling pride, dis- 
sitistied avarice, pining envy, disappointed hopes, fruitless 
cares, dubious anxiety, turl)ulent anger, fretting impa- 
tunce, and racking unbelief. It is to enjoy that even 

n J 



154 LAST CHECK 

state of mind, in which all things will work together for 
your g^od. There your love will bear its excellent fruits 
during the sharpest winter of affliction, as well as in the 
finest summer of prosperity. There you will be more and 
more settled in peaceful humility : there you will con- 
tinually grow in an holy familiarity with the Friend of 
penitent sinners ; and your prospect of eternal felicity will 
brighten every day.* 

Innumerable are the advantages which established, per- 
fect Christians have over carnal, unsettled believers, who 
continue sold under indwelling sin. And will ye despise 
those blessings to your dying day, O ye prejudiced imper- 
fectionists ? Will ye secure to yourselves the contrary 
curses ? Nay, will ye entail them upon the generations 
which are yet unborn, by continuing to print, preach, or 
argue for the continuance of indwelling sin, the capital 
woe belonging to the devil and his angels ? God forbid \ 
We hope better things from you ; not doubting but the 
error of several of you lies chiefly in your judgment, and 
springs from a misunderstanding of the question, rather 
than from a malicious opposition to that holiness without 
which no man shall see the Lord. With pleasure we 
remember and follow St. Jude's loving direction : " Of 
some" (the simple-hearted, who are seduced into antino- 
mianism) " have compassion ; making a difference ; and 
others'* (the bigots and obstinate seducers, who wilfully 
shut their eyes against the truth) " save with fear ; hating 
even the garment spotted by the flesh ;" although they 
will not be ashamed to plead for the continuance of a 
defiling fountain of carnality in the very heart of all God's 
people. We are fully persuaded, my dear brethren, that 
we should wrong you if we did not acknowledge, that 

* If the arguments and expostulations contained in these sheets are 
rational and scriptural, is not Mr. Wesley in the right when he says, 
that " all preachers should make a point of preaching perfection to 
believers, constantly, strongly, and explicitly ; " and that " all helievers 
should mind this one thing, and continually agonize for it ? " And do 
not all the ministers who preach against Christian perfection, preach 
against the perfection of Christianity, oppose holiness, resist "the" 
sanctifying " truth as it is in Jesus," recommend an iinscriptural purga- 
tory, plead for sin, instead of striving against it, and delude imperfect 
Christians into Laodicean ease ? 



TO ANTIX0MIAN18M. ] .' J 

many of you have a sincere desire to be saved by Christ 
into all purity of heart and life ; and with regard to such 
imperfectionists our chief complaint is, that their desire is 
" not according to knowledge." 

If others of you of a different stamp should laugh at 
these pages, and, still producing banter instead of argu- 
ment, should continue to say, "Where are your perfect 
Clu-istians ? Show us but one, and we will believe your 
doctrine of perfection ;" I shall just put them in mind of 
St. Peter's awful prophecy : '• Know this first, that there 
shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their 
own " indwelling " lusts, and saying, Where is the pro- 
raise of his " spiritual '• coming " — " to make an end of 
sin," " throughly to purge his floor, and to bum the chaff 
with unquenchable fire ? " — " For since the fathers fell 
asleep, all things continue as they were from the begin- 
ning:" all believers are still "carnal and sold under sin," 
as well as father Paul. And if such mockers continue to 
display their prejudice by such taunts, I shall take the 
liberty to show them their own picture, by pointing at 
those prejudiced professors of old who said, concerning 
the most poifect of all the perfect, " What sign showest 
thou," that we may receive thy doctrine ? " Come down 
from the cross, and we will believe." O the folly and 
danger of such scoffs ! " Blessed is he that sitteth not in " 
this ''scat of the scornful," and " maketh much of them that 
fear the Lord." Yea, he is " blessed " next to them who 
" are undefiled " (perfect) " in the way, who walk in the 
law of the Lord, k<'ep his testimonies, and seek him with 
their whole heart." Psalm cxix. 1, 2. 

Should ye ask, " To ^vhat purpose do you make all this 
ado about Christian perfection ? Do those who maintain 
this doctrine live more holy and useful lives than other 
believers ? " I answer : 

1. F.very thing being equal, they undoubtedly do, if 
they hold n(;t the truth in unrigliteousness ; for, the best 
priiiriples, when they are cordially embraced, will always 
produce the best praetiees. Dut, alas ! too many merely 
contend for Christian perfection in a speculative, system- 
atical manner. They recommend it to others Avith their 



156 



LAST CHECK 



lips, as a point of doctrine which makes a part of their 
religious system, instead of following after it with their 
hearts," as a blessing which they must attain, if they will 
not be found as unprepared for judgment as the foolish 
virgins. These perfectionists are, so far, hypocrites ; nor 
should their fatal inconsistency make us despise the truth 
which they contend for, any more than the conduct of 
thousands, who contend for the truth of the scriptures, 
while they live in full opposition to the scriptures, ought 
to make us despise the bible. 

2. On the other hand, some gracious persons, like the 
pious and inconsistent antinomians, whom I have de- 
scribed in the preceding Checks, speak against Christian 
perfection with their lips, but cannot help following hard 
after it with their hearts ; and while they do so, they 
sometimes attain the thing, although they continue to 
quarrel with the name. These perfect imperfectionists 
undoubtedly adorn the gospel of Christ far more than the 
imperfect, hypocritical perfectionists whom I have just 
described ; and God, who looks at the simplicity of the 
heart, more than at the consistency of the judgment, pities 
their mistakes, and accepts their works. 

But, 3. Some there are who both maintain doctrinally 
and practically the necessity of a perfect devotedness of 
ourselves to God. They hold the truth, and they hold it 
in wisdom and righteousness : their tempers and conduct 
enforce it, as well as their words and profession; and, 
on this account, they have a great advantage over the 
two preceding classes of professors. Reason and revela- 
tion jointly crown the orthodoxy and faithfulness of these 
perfect perfectionists, who neither strengthen the hands of 
the wicked, nor excite the wonder of the judicious, by 
absurdly pleading for indwelling sin with their lips, while 
they strive to work righteousness with their hands and 
hearts. If ye candidly weigh this threefold distinction, I 
doubt not but ye will blame the irrational inconsistency 
of holy imperfectionists, condemn the immoral incon- 
sistency of unholy perfectionists, and agree with me, 
that the most excellent Christian is a consistent, holy 
perfectionist. 



TO ANTIXOMIANISM. 157 

And now, my dear, mistaken brethren, take In good 
part these plain solutions, expostulations, and reproofs ; 
and give glory to God, by believing that he can and will 
yet save you to the uttermost from your evil tempers, if 
ye humbly come to him by Christ. Day and night ask 
of him the new heart which keeps the commandments ; 
and when ye shall have received it, if you keep it with all 
diligence, sin shall no more pollute it than it polluted our 
Lord's soul when he said, " If ye keep my command- 
ments, ye shall abide in my love ; even as I have kept my 
Father's commandments, and abide in his love." Burn, 
in the mean time, the unhallowed pens, and bridle the 
rash tongues, with which ye have pleaded for the continu- 
ance of sin till death. Honour us with the right hand of 
fellowship ; and, like reconciled brethren, let us, at every 
opportunity, lovingly fall upon our knees together, to im- 
plore the help of Him who " can do far exceeding abun- 
dantly above all that we ask or think." Nor let us give 
Him any rest, till he has perfected all our souls in the 
charity which " rejoiceth in the truth" without prejudice, in 
the obedience which keeps the commandments without 
reserve, and in the perseverance which finds that "in 
keeping of them there is great reward." 

Nothing but such a conduct as this can remove the 
sturablingblocks which the contentions ye breed have laid 
in the way of a deistical world. When the men whom 
your mistakes have hardened will see you listen to scrip- 
ture and reason, who knows but their prejudices may sub- 
side, and some of them may yet say, " See the good which 
arises from friendly controversy ! See how these Chris- 
tians desire to be perfected in one ! They now understand 
one another, Babylonish confusion is at an end ; evau- 
pelical truth prevails ; and love, the most delicious fruit 
('{ trutli, visibly grows to Christian perfection." God 
grant, that, through the concurrence of your candour, this 
may soon be the language of all those A\hom the bigotry 
or professors has confirmed in their prejudices against 
Christianity. 

Should this plain address have so far worked upon yon, 
my dear brethren, as to abate the force of your aversion to the 



158 LAST CHECK 

doctrine of pure love, or to stagger your unaccountable faith 
in a death-purgatory; and should you seriously ask which is 
the way to Christian perfection ; I entreat you to pass on to 
the next section, where, 1 hope, you will find a scriptural 
answer to some important questions which, I trust, a few 
of you are, by this time, ready to propose. 



SECTION XIX. 

Your regai'd for scripture and reason, and your desire 
to answer the end of God's predestination by " being con- 
formed to the image of his Son," have happily kept or 
reclaimed you from the antinomianism exposed in these 
sheets. 

Ye see the absolute necessity of personally " fulfilling 
the law of Christ ;" your bosom glows with desire to 
"perfect holiness in the fear of God;" and far from 
blushing to be called " perfectionists," ye openly assert, 
that a perfect faith productive of perfect love to God and 
man, is the pearl of great price, for which you are deter- 
mined to sell all, and which, next to Christ, you will seek 
early and late, as the one thing needful for your spiritual 
and eternal welfare. Some directions, therefore, about 
the manner of seeking this pearl cannot but be acceptable 
to you if they are scriptural and rational; and such, I 
humbly trust, are those which follow : — 

'I. First, if ye would attain an evangelically- sinless per- 
Tection, let your full assent to the truth of that deep doc- 
trine firmly stand upon Ahe evangelical foundation of a 
precept and a promise. A precept without a promise 
would not sufiiciently animate you ; nor would a promise 
without a precept properly bind you ; but a divine precept 
and a divine promise^form an unshaken foundation. Let, 
then, your faith deliberately rest her right foot upon these 
precepts : — 

" Hear, O Israel : Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all 
thy might." ; Deut. vi. 4, 5.) " Thou shalt not hate thy 



TO ANTINOMIAMS^r. 



150 



nei'^hbour In thy heart ; thou shalt in any wise rebuke 
thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him : thou shalt 
not aveno^e, nor bear any grudge against the children of 
thv people ; but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself : 
I ani the Lord; ye shall keep my statutes/^ Ley. xix. 17 — 
19, ^' And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God 
require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in 
his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God 
with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the com- 
mandments of the Lord thy God, and his statutes, which 
I command thee this day for thy good," &c. " Circum- 
cise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more 
stiff-necked." Deut. x. 12, &c. " Serve God with a per- 
fect heart and a willing mind ; for the Lord searchetli 
all hearts, and understandeth the imaginations of the 
thoughts.^ 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. ) 

Should unbelief suggest, that these are only old-testa- 
ment injunctions, trample upon the false suggestion, and 
rest the same foot of your faith upon the following new- 
testament precepts : " Think not that I am come to de- 
stroy the law, or the prophets." " I say unto you. Love 
your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to 
them that hate you," »S:c. ; " that ye may be the children 
of your Father who is in heaven," &c. " For if ye love 
tlicm which love you, what reward have ye ? Do not 
oven tlie publicans the same ?" " Be ye therefore per- 
f.'ct, even as your J?ather which is in heaven is perfect." 
.Matt. V. ] 7, 14, &c. " If thou wilt enter into life, keep 
the commandments.' y Matt. xix. 17.^ "Bear ye one ano- 
ther's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."(Gal. vi. 2.) 
"This is my commandment. That ye love one another, as I 
have loved you."' John xv. 12."^ " He that loveth another 
hath fulfilled the law. For this. Thou shalt not commit 
adultery," &e., " Thou shalt not covet ; and if there be 
any other commandment, it is l)riefly comprehended in 
this saying, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself 
Love >vorketh no ill," cVc. ; " therefore love is the fulfilling 
of the law. • Rom. xiii. 8—10.) « This commandment we 
have flora him, That he who loves God, love his brother 
also.yi John iv. 2\) "If ye fulfil the royal law, Thou 



160 LAST CHECK 

shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well. But if' 
ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are con- 
vinced of the law as transgressors."( James ii. 8, 9. ) " Cir- 
cumcision is nothing, uncircumcision is nothing," com- 
paratively speaking ; " but" under Christ " the keeping of 
the commandments of God" is the one thing needful. 

1 Cor. vii. 19.1 "For the end of the commandment is 

* 

charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, 
and of faith unfeigned," 1 Tim. i. 5. " Though I have 
all faith," &c., " and have not charity, I am nothing." 
1 Cor. xiii. 2. "Whosoever shall keep the whole law" 
of liberty, " and yet offend in one point," (in uncharitable 
respect of persons,) " he is guilty of all," &c. " So speak 
ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of 
liberty," which requires perfect love, and therefore makes 
no allowance for the least degree of uncharitableness. 
James ii. 10, 12. 

When the right foot of your faith stands on these evan- 
gelical precepts and proclamations, lest she should stagger 
for want of a promise every way adequate to such weighty 
commandments, let her place her left foot upon the fol- 
loAving promises, which are extracted from the old testa- 
ment : — " The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, 
and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with 
all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest 
live." ; Deut. XXX. 6. "Come now, and let us reason 
together, says the Lord : though your sins be as scarlet, 
they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like 
crimson, they shall be as wool." fisaiah i. 18. ) That this 
promise chiefly refers to sanctification is evident, 1. From 
the verses which immediately precede it, " Make you 
clean," &c. " Cease to do evil, learn to do well," &c. 
And, 2. From the verses which immediately follow it, 
" If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of 
the land ; but if ye refuse and rebel," or disobey, "ye shall 
be devoured with the sword." Again : " I will give 
them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord : and they 
shall be my people, and I will be their God," in a new 
and peculiar manner : " for they shall return unto me with 
their whole heart." " This shall be the covenant that I 



TO AXTINOMIANISM. 161 

win make with the house of Israel ; After those days, 
savs the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, 
and UTite it in then- hearts i and will he theii- God, and- 
they shall be my people."/ Jeremiah xxiv. 7 ; xxxi. 33. ' 
'■ Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall 
be clean : from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, 
will I cleanse vou. A new heai-t also will I give you, and 
a new spirit will I put wdthin you : and I will put aw^ay 
the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I will give you an 
heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and 
cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my 
judgments, and do them." Ezekiel xxxvi. 25 — 27.J 

And let nobody suppose, that the promises of the 
'• circumcision," the " cleansing," the " clean water," and 
the " Spirit," which are mentioned in these scriptures, and 
by which the hearts of believers are to be made "new," and 
God's law is to be so written therein, that they shall 
'• keep his judgments and do them ;" let none, I say, 
suppose that these glorious promises belong only to the 
Jews ; for their fall accomplishment peculiarly refers to 
the Christian dispensation. Besides, if sprinkling of the 
Spirit were sufiicient, under the Jewish dispensation, to 
raise the plant of Jewish perfection in Jewish believers, 
how much more will the revelation of " the horn of our 
salvation," and the outpourings of the Spirit, raise the plant 
of Christian perfection in faithful. Christian believers ! 
And that this revelation of Christ in the Spirit, as well as 
in the flesh, these efi"usions of the water of life, these bap- 
tisms of fire, which burn up the chaft" of sin, throughly 
purge ( lod's spiritual floor, save us from all our unclean- 
ncssi's, and deliver us from all our enemies ; that these 
blessings, 1 say, are peculiarly promised to Christians, is 
demonstrable by the folio ^ving cloud of new-testament 
declarations and promises : — 

'• Blessed be the Lord God of Israel ; for he hath 
raised up an horn of salvation for us, as he spala- by the 
mouth of his holy prophets, that ^^e, being delivered out 
ot the hands of our enemies, might serve him without" 
unbelieving ^* fear," tliat is, Avith perfect love, " in holiness 
and righteousness before him, all the days of our life." 



162 LAST CHECK 

Luke i, 68 — 75. ) " Blessed are the poor in Spirit," who 
" thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled."j Matt. 
V. 3, 6J " If thou knewest the gift of God," &c., " thou 
wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given 
thee living water." " And the water that I shall give 
him, shall be in him a well of water springing up to ever^ 
lasting life." John iv. 10, 14. j " Jesus stood and cried, 
saying. If any man thirst, let him come to me and 
drink. He that believeth on me," when I shall have 
ascended up on high, to receive gifts for men, " out of his 
belly shall flow rivers of living water " to cleanse his soul, 
and to keep it clean. " But this he spake of the Spirit, 
which they that believe on him shall receive ; for the Holy 
Ghost was not yet given " in such a manner as to raise 
the plant of Christian perfection, " because Jesus was not 
yet glorified," and his spiritual dispensation was not yet 
fully opened. ( John vii. 37, &c. / Mr. Wesley, in his 
Plain Account of Christian Perfection, has published 
some excellent queries, and proposed them to those who 
deny perfection to be attainable in this life. They are 
close to the point, and, therefore the two first attack the 
imperfectionists from the very ground on which I want 
you to stand. They run thus : — " 1. Has there not been a 
larger measure of the Holy Spirit given under the gospel, 
than under the Jewish dispensation ? If not, in what 
sense was ' the Spirit not given ' before Christ was ' glori- 
fied ? ' John vii. 39. 2. Was that ' glory which followed 
the sufferings of Christ,' 1 Peter i. 11, an external glory, 
or an internal, viz., the glory of holiness ? " Always 
rest the doctrine of Christian perfection on this scrip- 
tural foundation, and it will stand as firm as revelation 
itself. 

It is allowed on all sides, that the dispensation of John 
the baptist exceeded that of the other prophets, because it 
im^iediately introduced the gospel of Christ, and because 
John was not only appointed to " preach the baptism of 
repentance," but also clearly to point out the very person 
of' Christ, and to " give knowledge of salvation to God's 
people by the remission of sins." Luke i. 77- And never- 
theless, John only promised the blessing of the Spirit, 



TO A>TINO.-\IIANI,s>r. 1G3 

which Clirlst bestowed when ho liad loccivcd crifts for 
men. •• I indeed," said John, '• bapti/- you with water 
unto repentance : but he that cometh after lue is mightier 
tlian I ; he shall baptize vou witli the Holy Ghost, and 
■with fire." 3Iatt. iii. 11. .'Such is the importance of this 
promise, that it is particularly recorded not only by the 
three other evangelists, (see Mark i. 8, Luke iii. 16, and 
John i. 2<).) but also by our Lord himself, who said just 
before his ascension, '• John truly baptized with w^ater ; 
but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many 
days hence.' Acts i. 5. 

!So capital is this promise of the Spirit's stronger influ- 
ences to raise the rare plant of Christian perfection, that 
when our Lord speaks of this promise, he emphatically 
calls it '■"the promise of the Father;" because it shines 
among the other promises of the gospel of Christ, as the 
moon does among the stars. Thus, Acts i. 4 : " Wait," 
says he, " for the promise of the Father, which ye have 
heard of me." And again, Lulce xxiv. 49 : '• Behold, I 
send the promise of my Father upon you." Agreeably to 
this, St. rttir says, '"Jesus being by the right hand of 
God exalted, and having received of the Father the 
promise of the Holy Ghost, he lias shnl forth this." He 
has l)egun abundantly to fulfil " that which was spoken by 
the prophet Joel ; And it shall come to pass in the last 
days, saithCrod, that I will pour out" (bestow a more 
abundant measure) "of my Spirit upon all flesh." ''There- 
fore repent and be bajitized," that is, make an open pro- 
fession ot" your faith, '" in the name of the liord -lesus for 
the remission of sins ; and ye shall receive the gift of the 
Holy ( ihost. i'or the promise is unto you, aiul to vour 
children, and to as many as the Lord our God shall call" to 
enjoy the full blessings of the Christian disitensation. Acts 
ii. 1(!, 1 7, '5.'i — 31). This promise, wlu'n it is reeeiveil in its 
fulness, is undoubtedly the greatest of all the " exceedingly 
great and precious promises" which ''are given to us, that 
hy thum you might be partakers of the divine nature," that 
is, of ])ure love and unmixed holiness. 2 Peter i. 4. Have 
therefore a peculiar ey<' to it, and to these deep words of 
our Lord : •' I will ask the Father, and he shall give you 



164 



LAST CHECK 



another Comforter, tliat he may abide with your for ever ; 
even Ijie Spirit of truth " and power, " whom the world 
knows not," &c. : " but ye know him ; for he remaineth 
with you, and shall be in you." " At that day ye shall 
know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in 
you." For " if any man," that is, any believer, " love me, 
he will keep my words : and my Father will love him, and 
we will come to him, and make our abode with him." 
John xiv. 16 — 23. " Which," says Mr. "Wesley, in his note 
on the place, " implies such a large manifestation of the 
divine presence and love, that the former in justification, 
is as nothing in comparison of it." Agreeably to this, the 
same judicious divine expresses himself thus in another of 
his publications : — " These virtues " — meekness, humility, 
and true resignation to God — " are the only wedding gar- 
ment ; they are the lamps and vessels well furnished with 
oil. There is nothing that will do instead of them ; they 
must have their full and perfect work in you, or the soul 
can never be delivered from its fallen, wrathful state. 
There is no possibility of salvation but in this. And 
when the Lamb of God has brought forth his own meek- 
ness, &c., in our souls, then are our lamps trimmed, and 
our virgin hearts made ready for the marriage -feast. This 
marriage-feast signifies the entrance into the highest state 
of union that can be between God and the soul in this 
life. This birth-day of the Spirit of love in our souls, 
whenever we attain, will feast our souls with such peace 
and joy in God, as will blot out the remembrance of every 
thing that we called peace or joy before." 

To make you believe this important promise with more 
ardour, consider that our Lord spent some of his last 
moments in sealing it with his powerful intercession. 
After having prayed the Father to " sanctify" his disciples 
" through the truth " firmly embraced by their faith, and 
powerfully applied by his Spirit, he adds, " Neither pray I 
for these alone, but for them who will believe on me 
through their word." And what is it that our Lord asks 
for these believers ? Truly what St. Paul asked for the 
imperfect believers at Corinth, " even their perfection," 
2 Cor. xiii. 9 ; a state of soul this, which Christ describes 



TO ANTTNOMIAMS.^r. 165 

thus: — -Tliat they all may "be one; as thou, Fatlicr, art in 
lue, and I in thee, that they may be made one in us," &c. ; 
'• that thev may be one, as we are one : I in them, and 
thou in me, that they may be perfected in one ; and that 
the Avorld may know that thou hast loved them as thou 
hast loved me." John xvii. 1 7 — 23. Our Lord could not 
pray in vain : it is not to be supposed that the scriptures 
are silent with respect to the effect of this solemn prayer, 
an answer to which was to give the world an idea of the 
new .Jerusalem coming doAATi from heaven, — a specimen of 
the power which introduces believers into the state of 
Christian perfection ; and therefore we read, that, on the 
dav of pentecost, the kingdom of Satan was powerfully 
shaken, and the kingdom of God — " righteousness, peace, 
and jov in the Holy Ghost " — began to come with a new 
power. Then were thousands wonderfully converted, and 
cleai'ly justified. Then w^as the kingdom of heaven taken 
1)V force ; and the love of Christ, and of the brethren, 
hefian to burn the chaff of selfishness and sin with a force 
which the world had never seen before. See ^Vcts ii. 42, 
&c. Some time after, another glorious baptism, or capital 
outpouring of the Spirit, earned believers farther into the 
kingdom of the grace which perfects them in one. And 
therefore we find, that the account Avhich St. Luke gives 
us of them after this second capital manifestation of 
the Holy Spirit, in a great degree, answers to our Lord's 
prayer for their perfection. He had asked " that they all, 
m\<^\\t be oiu'," that they " might be one as the Father and 
he are one," and that they " might Ix' perfected in one." 
'lohn xvii. I'J, S:(_\ And now a fuller answer is given to 
liis deep request. Take it in the words of tlie inspired 
hi>torian : — " And when they had prayed, the place was 
>hakfii where they Avere assembled together ; and they 
were" onee more " filled Avith the Holy Ghost, and they 
sjiake the word with " still greater "boldness. And the 
multitude of them that believed Avere of one heart, and 
nl one soul : neither said any of them, that aught of 
the things Avhich he possessed Avas his OAvn ; but they 
had all things common," &c. " And great grace Avas upon 
them all." Acts iv. 31—33. Who does not see in this 



166 LAST CHECK 

account a specimen of that grace 'wliicli our Lord had 
asked for Lelievers, when he had prayed that his dis- 
ciples, and those who would believe on him through their 
word, might be " perfected in one ? " 

It may be asked here, whether the multitude of them 
that believed in those happy days were all perfect in love. 
I answer, that, if pure love had cast out all selfishness and 
sinful fear from their hearts, they were undoubtedly made 
perfect in love. But as God does not usually remove the 
plague of indwelling sin till it has been discovered and 
lamented ; and as w^e find, in the two next chapters, an 
account of the guile of Ananias and his wife, and of the 
partiality or selfish murmuring of some believers ; it 
seems, that those chiefly who before were strong in the 
grace of their dispensation arose then into sinless fathers ; 
and that the first love of other believers, through the 
peculiar blessing of Christ upon his infant church, was so 
bright and powerful for a time, that little children had, or 
seemed to have, the strength of young men, and young 
men the grace of fathers. And, in this case, the account 
which St. Luke gives of the primitive believers ought to 
be taken with some restriction : thus, while many of them 
were perfect in love, many might have the imperfection 
of their love only covered over by a land-flood of " peace 
and joy in believing." And, in this case, what is said of 
their being " all of one heart and mind," and of their 
" having all things common," &c., may only mean, that 
the harmony of love had not yet been broken, and that 
none had yet betrayed any of the uncharitableness for 
which Christians in after-ages became so conspicuous. 
With respect to the " great grace " which " was upon 
them all," this does not necessarily mean, that they were 
all equally strong in grace; for great unity and happiness 
may rest upon a whole family, where the difference be- 
tween a father, a young man, and a child, continues to 
subsist. However, it is not improbable, that God, to 
open the dispensation of the Spirit in a manner which 
might fix the attention of all ages upon its importance and 
glory, permitted the whole body of believers to take an 
extraordinary turn together into the Canaan of perfect 



TO ANTINOMIAMSM. li]'J 

love, and to show the world the admirable fi uit which 
grows there, as the spies sent by Joshua took a turn into 
the good land of promise before they were settled in it, 
and brought from thence the bunch of grapes which asto- 
nished and spirited up the Israelites who had not yet 
crossed Jordan. 

Upon the whole, it is, I think, undeniable, from the 
four first chapters of the Acts, that a peculiar power of the 
Spirit is bestowed upon believers, under the gospel of 
Christ ; that this poAver, through faith on our part, can 
operate the most sudden and siirprising change in our 
souls ; and that, when our faith shall fully embrace the 
promise of full sanctification, or of a complete circum- 
cision of the heart in the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, who 
kindled so much love on the day of pentecost, that all the 
primitive believers loved, or seemed to love, each other 
perfectly, will not fail to help us to " love one another " 
without sinful self-seeking ; and as soon as we do so 
"• God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 
1 John iv. 1'2 ; John xiv. 2.3. 

Should you ask, '' How many baptisms, or effusions of 
the sanctifying Spirit, are necessary to cleanse a believer 
from all sin, and to kindle his soul into perfect love {" T 
reply, tliat, the effect of a sanetifviiig truth depencling 
upon the ardour of the faith with ^^llieh that truth is 
embraced, and upon the power of the Spirit with which it 
is applied, I should betray a Avant of modesty, if I brought 
the operations of tlie Holy Ghost, and the eneruy of faith, 
under a rule which is not expressly laid down in scripture. 
If you asked your ])hysiciaii how many doses of physic you 
must take before all the crudities of your stomach can be 
carried off, and your appetite perfectly restored, he Avould 
probably answer you, that this depends upon the nature 
of those crudities, the stren;^Mli of the medicine, and the 
manner in which your constitution will allow it to ope- 
rate ; and that, in general, you must repeat the dose, as 
you can bear, till the remedy has fully answered the 
desired end. I return a similar answer : If one powerful 
baptism of the Spirit "seals you unto the day of redemp- 
tion," and "cleanses you from all" moral '' filthiness," so 



168 LAST CHECK 

much tlie better. If two or more are necessary, the Lord 
can repeat them ; " his arm is not shortened that it cannot 
save," nor is his promise of the Spirit stinted : he says, in 
general, " Whosoever v\^ill, let him come and take of the 
water of life freely." " If you, being evil, know how to 
give good gifts to your children, how much more Avill your 
heavenly Father," who is goodness itself, " give his holy " 
sanctifying " Spirit to them that ask him ?" I may, how- 
ever, venture to say, in general, that, before we can rank 
among perfect Christians, we must receive so much of the 
truth and Spirit of Christ by faith, as to have the pure 
love of God and man shed abroad in our hearts by the 
Holy Ghost given unto us, and to be filled with the meek 
and lowly mind which was in Christ. And if one out- 
pouring of the Spirit, one bright manifestation of the 
sanctifying truth, so empties us of self, as to fill us Mdth 
the mind of Christ, and with pure love, we are un- 
doubtedly Christians, in the full sense of the Avord. 
From the ground of my soul, I therefore subscribe to 
the answer which a great divine makes to the following 
objection : — 

" But some who are newly justified do come up to 
this " (Christian perfection). " What, then, will you say 
to these ? " Mr. Wesley replies with great propriety : 
'■■ If they really do, I will say, They are sanctified, saved 
from sin in that moment ; and that they never need lose 
what God has given, or feel sin any more. But certainly 
this is an exempt case : it is otherwise with the generality 
of those that are justified ; they feel in themselves more 
or less pride, anger, self-will, and an heart bent to back- 
sliding ; and till they have gradually mortified these, they 
are not fully renewed in love. God usually gives a consi- 
derable time for men to receive light, to grow in grace, to 
do and suffer his will, before they are either justified or 
sanctified. But he does not invariably adhere to this, 
sometimes he cuts short his work ; he does the work of 
many years in a few weeks, perhaps, in a week, a day, an 
hour. He justifies or sanctifies both those who have done 
or suffered nothing, and who have not had time for a 
gradual growth either in light or grace. And may he not 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. IGO 

do what he will with his own? * Is thine eye evil, 
because he is good ? ' It need not, therefore, be proved 
by forty texts of scripture, either that most men are per- 
fected in love at last, or that there is a gradual work of 
God in the soul ; and that, generally speaking, it is a long 
time, even many years, before sin is destroyed. All this 
we know ; but we know, likewise, that God may, with 
man's good leave, cut short his work, in whatever degree 
he pleases, and do the usual work of many years in a mo- 
ment. He does so in many instances : and yet there is a 
gradual work both before and after that moment ; so that 
one may affirm, the work is gradual, another, it is 
instantaneous, without any manner of contradiction." 
Plain Account, page llo, &c. Page 135, the same emi- 
nent divine explains himself more fully thus : '" It " 
(Christian perfection) "is constantly preceded and followed 
by a gradual work. But is it in itself instantaneous or 
not ? In examining this, let us go on step b}^ step. 
An instantaneous change has been wrought in some 
believers : none can deny this. Since that change, they 
enjoy perfect love ; they feel this, and this alone ; they 
rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, in every thing 
give thanks.' Now this is all that I mean by ' pcr- 
fe«_tion;' therefore these are witnesses of the perfection 
which I preach. ' But in some this change was not 
instantaneous.' They did not perceive tlie instant when 
it was wrought : it is often difficult to perceive the instant 
when a man dies ; yet there is an instant in which life 
ceases: and if ever sin ceases, there must be a last 
moment of its existence, and a first moment of our deli- 
verance from it. 'But if they have this love now, ihev 
will lose it.' They may : but they need not. And 
whether they do or no, they have it now ; they now exp(>- 
ricnce what we teach ; they now are all love ; they now 
rejoice, pray, and praise without ceasing. ' However, sin 
is only suspended in them, it is not destroyed.' Call it 
which you please, they are all love to-day, and they ' take 
no thought for the morrow.' " To return : 

2. AVhen you firmly assent to the truth of the precepts 
and promises on which the doctrine of Christian perfection 

Vol. v. I 



170 LAST CHECK 

is founded ; when you understand the meaning of these 
scriptures, — " Sanctify them through thy truth : thy word 
is truth*;" "I will send the Comforter" (the Spirit of 
truth and holiness) " unto you ; " " God has chosen you 
to " eternal " salvation, through sanctification of the 
Spirit, and belief of the truth ;" — when you see, that the 
fWay to Christian perfection is by the word of the gospel 
of Christ, by faith, and by the Spirit of God ; in the next 
^iace, get tolerably clear ideas of this perfection. This is 
absolutely necessary. If "you will Tiit a juark, you must 
know where it is. Some people aim at jphristian perfec- 
tion, but, mistaking it for*afe.gelical perfection, they shoot 
above the mark, miss it, and then peevishly give up their 
hopes. Others place the mark as much too low: hence 
it is that you hear them profess to have attained Christian 
perfection, when they have not so much as attained\the 
mental serenity of a philosopher) or the candour of a good- 
natured, conscientious heathen. In the preceding pages, 
if I am not mistaken, the mark is fixed according to the 
rules of scriptural moderation : it is not placed so high, 
as to make you despair of hitting it, if you do your best 
in an evangelical manner ; nor yet so low, as to allow you 
to presume, that you can reach it without exerting all 
your abilities to the uttermost, in due subordination tp. the 
efficacy of Jesus's blood, and the Spirit's sanctifying 
influences. 

3. Should ye ask, " Which is the way to Christian per- 
fection ? Shall we go to it by internal stillness, agreeably 
to this direction of Moses and David ? — ' The Lord will 
fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. Stand still, 
and see the salvation of God.' ' Be still, and know that I 
am God.' ' Stand in awe, and sin not : commune with 
your own heart upon your bed, and be still.' Or shall we 
press after it by an internal wrestling, according to these 
commands of Christ ? — ' Strive to enter in at the strait 
gate.' 'The kingdom of heaven sufifereth violence, and 
the violent taketh it by force,' " &c. 

According to the evangelical balance of the doctrine of 
free grace and free will, I answer, that the way to perfec- 
tion is by the due combination of ^revenient, assisting 



TO ANTINOMIAXISM. I'Jl 

free grace, and of submissive, assisted free will. Antiiio- 
inian stillness, therefore, -which says, that free grace must 
do all, is not the Avay ; pharisaic activity, -which will d^ 
most, if not all, is not the -way ; join these two partial sys- 
tems, alloAA'ing free grace the lead and high pre-eminence 
which it so justly claims, and you have the balance of the 
two gospel axioms ; you do justice to the doctrines of 
mercy and justice, of free grace and free will, of divine 
faithfulness, in keeping the covenant of grace, and of 
human faithfulness, in laying hold on that covenant, and 
keeping within its bounds : \ in short, you have the scrip- 
ture method of waiting upon God, which Mr. AVesley 
describes thus : — 

" Restles?, resign'd, for God I wait ; 

For Gud my vehement soul stands still." 

To understand these lines, consider that faith, like 
the -virgin ^lary, is alternately a receiver and a bestower : 
first, it passively receives the impregnation of divine 
grace, saying, " Behold the handmaid of the Lord : h t 
it be done to me according to thy word ; " and then, it 
actively brings forth its heavenly fruit with earnest labour. 
^ (lod workcth in you to Avill and to do," says St. Paul. 
Here he d(S(ril)cs the passive office of faith, which sub- 
mits to. and acquiesces in, every divine dispensation and 
operation. " Tin r* fore work out your own salvation with 
fear and treml)ling," and, of consequence, with haste, dili- 
gence, ardour, and faithfulness. Here the apostle describes 
the active office of that mother-grace, which carefully lays 
out the talent she lias already received. AN'ouId ye then 
wait aright for Christian perfection ? Impartially admit the 
two gospel axioms, and faithfully reduce them to practice. 
In order to this, let them meet in your hearts, as the two 
legs of a pair of compasses meet in the rivet wliieli 
makes them one compound instrument. Let your faith 
in the doctrine of free grace, and riirist's rii^hteousiHss, 
fix your mind upon (Jod, as you fix one of the leux of 
your compasses immovably in the centre of the circle 
which you are about to draw ; so shall you stand still 
according to the first texts produced in the question. .\nd 
then, let your faith in the doctrine of fre(! will and 

I 2 



172 LAST CHECK 

evangelical obedience, make you steadily run the circle of 
duty around that firm centre ; so shall you imitate the 
other leg of the compasses, which evenly moves around the 
centre, and traces the circumference of a perfect circle. 
By this activity subordinate to grace, you will " take the 
kingdom of heaven by force." When your heart quietly 
rests in God by faith, as it steadily acts the part of a 
passive receiver, it resembles the leg of the compasses 
which rests in the centre of the circle; and then the 
poet's expressions, " restless, resigned," describe its fixed- 
ness in God. But when your heart swiftly moves towards 
God by faith, as it acts the part of a diligent worker ; 
when your ardent soul follows after God, as a thirsty deer 
does after the water-brooks; it maybe compared to the leg 
of the compasses Avhich traces the circumference of the 
circle : and then these words of the poet, " restless " and 
" vehement," properly belong to it. To go on steadily to 
perfection, you must therefore endeavour steadily to believe, 
according to the doctrine of the first gospel axiom; and, 
as there is opportunity, diligently to work, according to 
the doctrine of the second. And the moment your faith 
is steadily fixed in God as in your centre, and your 
obedience swiftly moves in the circle of duty from the rest 
and power which you ^nd in that centre you have at- 
tained ; you are made perfect in the faith which works by 
love- Your humble faith saves you from pharisaism, your 
obedient love from antinomianism ; and both, in due 
subordination to Christ, constitute you a just man made 
perfect according to your dispensation. 

4. Another question has also puzzled many sincere 
perfectionists ; and the solution of it may remove a con- 
siderable hinderance out of your way. " Is Christian,per- 
fection," say they, " to be ^instaa tnnpoiwhTi brought down 
To us ? or are we ^^duaily to grow up to it ?} Shall we 
be made perfect in love by an habit of holiness suddenly 
infused into us, or by acts of feeble faith and feeble love 
so frequently repeated as to become strong, habitual, 
and evangelically natural to us, according to the well- 
known maxim, ' A strong habit is a second nature ? ' " 

Both ways are good; and instances of some believers 



TO AMINOMIANISM. IJS 

gradually p erfected, and of others, comparatively speaking, 
^tantaneously fi Yp^yin pprfeot Inyg^ mjjrht^ probably be 
. prodix cad. if we were acquainted Avitn tlie experiences^ 
all those who have died in a state of evangelical perfec- 
tion. It may be vnth the root of sin, as it is with itsT' 
fruit : some souls parley many years, before they can be 
persuaded to give up all then- outward sins ; and others 
part with them as it were instantaneously. You may 
compare the former to those besieged towns which make 
a long resistance, or to those mothers who go through a 
tedious and lingering labour; and the latter resemble 
those fortresses which are surprised and carried by storm, 
or those women who are delivered almost as soon as 
labour comes upon them. Travellers inform us that vege- 
tation is so quick and powerful in some wann climates, 
that the seeds of some vegetables yield a salad in less 
than twenty-four hours. Should a northern philosopher 
say, •• Impossible ! " and should an English gardener ex- 
claim against such mushroom salad, they would only 
expose their prejudices, as do those who decry instant- 
aneous justification, or mock at the possibility of the 
instantaneous destruction of indwelling sin. 

For where is the absurdity of this doctrine ? If the 
light of a candle brought into a dark room can instantly 
expel the darkness ; and if, upon opening your shutters at 
noon, your gloomy apartment can instantaneously be filled 
with meridian light ; why might not the instantaneous 
rending of the veil of unbelief, or the sudden and full 
opening of the eye of your faith, instantly fill your soul 
with the light of truth and the fire of love ; supposing 
the sun of righteousness arise upon you with powcrfni 
healing in his wings? May not the .Sanctiru-r descend 
upon your waiting soul, as quickly as the Spirit descended 
uj)on our Lord at his baptism ? Did it not deseend as a 
dove, that is, with the soft motion of a dove, which swiftly 
shoots down, and instantly lights ? A good man said 
once, with truth, " A mote is little when it is compared 
to the sun ; but I am fiir less before God." Alluding to 
this comparison, I ask, If the sun could instantly kindle a 
mote ; nay, if a burning-glass can in a moment calcine a 



174 LAST CHECK 

bone, and turn a stone to lime ; and if the dim flame of a 
candle can in the twinkling of an eye destroy the flying 
insect 'vf hich comes within its sphere ; how unscriptural 
and irrational is it to suppose, that, when God fully 
baptizes a soul with his sanctifying Spirit and with the 
celestial fire of his love, he cannot in an instant destroy 
the man of sin, burn up the chafi" of corruption, melt the 
heart of stone into a heart of flesh, and kindle the believ- 
ing soul into pure seraphic love ! 

An appeal to parallel cases may throw some light upon 
the question which I answer. If you were sick, and asked 
of God the perfect recovery of your health, how would 
you look for it ? Would you expect to have your strength 
restored you at once, without any external means, as the 
lepers who were instantly cleansed ; and as the paralytic, 
who, at our Lord's word, took up the bed on which he 
lay, and carried it away upon his shoulders ? or, by using 
some external means of a slower operation, as the " ten 
lepers " did, who were more gradually cleansed " as they 
went to show themselves to the priests ? " or, as king 
Hezekiah, whose gradual but equally sure recovery was 
owing to God's blessing upon the poultice of figs prescribed 
by Isaiah ? Again : if you were blind, and besought the 
Lord to give you perfect human sight, how should you 
wait for it? as Bartimeus, whose eyes were opened in 
an instant ? or, as the man who received his sight by 
degrees ? At first he saw nothing ; by and by he con- 
fusedly discovered the objects before him; but at last he 
" saw all things clearly ! " Would ye not earnestly wait 
for an answer to your prayers now; leaving to divine 
wisdom the particular manner of your recovery ? And 
why should ye not go and do likewise, with respect to the 
dreadful disorder which we call " indwelling sin ? " 

If our hearts are " purified by faith," as the scripture 
expressly testifies ; if the faith which peculiarly purifies 
the heart of Christians, is a faith in " the promise of the 
Father," which promise was made by the Son, and directly 
points at a peculiar efi"usion of the Holy Ghost, the purifier 
of spirits ; if we may believe in a moment ; and if God 
may, in a moment, seal our sanctifying faith by sending 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. ] J") 

US a fulness of his sanctifying Spirit ; if this, I say, is the 
case, does it not follow, that to deny the possibility of the 
instantaneous destruction of sin is to deny, contrary to 
scripture and matter of fact, that we can make an instan- 
taneous act of faith in the sanctifying promise of the 
Father, and in the all-cleansing blood of the Son, and tliat 
God can seal that act by the instantaneous operation of his 
Spirit ? which St. Paul calls " the circumcision of the 
heart in " or by " the Spirit," according to the Lord's 
ancient promise, '* I will circumcise thy heart, to love the 
Lord thy God with all thy heart." Where is the 
absurdity of believing that the God of all grace can 
now give an answer to the poet's rational and evangelical 
request ? — 

" Open my faith's interior eye ; 

Display thy glory from above ; 
And sinful self shall sink and die, 
Lo^it in astonishment and love." 

If a momentary display of Christ's bodily glory could 
in an instant turn Saul, the blaspheming, bloody perse- 
cutor, into Paul, the praying, gentle apostle ; if a sudden 
sight of Cliiist's hands could, in a moment, root up from 
Thomas's heart that detestable resolution, '• I will not be- 
lievf," and produce that deep confession of faith, " ^ly 
L'.rd and my God ! " what cannot the display of Christ's 
sjiiritual glory operate in a believing soul, to which he 
manifests himself " according to that power whereby he 
is able to subdue all things to himself?" Again: if 
(Christ's body could, in an instant, become so glorious on 
the mount, that his very garments partook of the Sudden 
irradiation, became not only free from every spot, but 
also "' white as the light," '* shining exceeding white as 
snow, so as no fuller on earth c;ui white them ; " and 
if our bodies '' shall be changed," if " this corruptible 
shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on 
immortality, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, 
at the last trump ; " why may not our believing souls, 
when they fully submit to (Jod's terms, be fully eha]ig((d, 
fully "turned from the power" of Satan unto God? 
When the Holy Ghost says, " Now is the day of sal- 



176 LAST CHECK 

vation," does lie exclude salvation from heart iniquity? 
If Christ now deserves fully the name of " Jesus, because 
he " fully " saves his " believing " people from their sins ; " 
and if now the gospel trumpet sounds, and sinners arise 
from the dead ; why should we not upon the performance 
of the condition be changed in a moment from indwelling 
sin to indwelling holiness ? "VVhy should w^e not pass in 
the twinkling of an eye, or in a short time, from indwell- 
ing death to indwelling life ? 

This is not all : if you deny the possibility of a quick 
destruction of indwelling sin, you send to hell, or to some 
unscriptural purgatory, not only the dying thief, but also 
all those martyrs who suddenly embraced the Christian 
faith, and were instantly put to death by bloody perse- 
cutors for confessing the faith which they had just 
embraced. And if you allow, that God may " cut his 
work short in righteousness " in such a case, why not in 
other cases ? why not, especially, when a believer con- 
fesses his indAvelling sin, ardently prays that Christ would, 
and sincerely believes that Christ can, now " cleanse from 
all unrighteousness ? " 

Nobody is so apt to laugh at the instantaneous destruc- 
tion of sin as the Calvinists ; and yet, such is the incon- 
sistency which characterizes some men, their doctrine of 
purgatory is built upon it. For, if you credit them, all 
dying believers have a nature which is still morally cor- 
rupted, and a heart which is yet desperately wicked. 
These believers, still fall of indwelling sin, instantaneously 
breathe out their last, and, without any peculiar act of 
faith, without any peculiar outpouring of the sanctifying 
Spirit, corruption is instantaneously gone. The indwelling 
man of sin has passed through the Geneva purgatory, he 
is entirely consumed, and, behold ! the souls which would 
not hear of the instantaneous act of sanctifying faith 
which receives the indwelling Spirit of holiness, — the 
souls which pleaded hard for the continuance of indwell- 
ing sin, — are now completely sinless; and in the twinkling 
of an eye they appear in the third heaven among the 
spirits of just Christians made perfect in love ! Such is the 
doctrine of our opponents ; and yet, they think it incredible 



TO ANTINOMIC NISM. 1/7 

that God should do for us, while we pray in faith, what 
they suppose death will do for them, when they lie in his 
cold arms, perhaps delirious or senseless ! 

On the other hand, to deny that imperfect believers 
may and do gradually grow in grace, and, of course, that 
the remains of their sins may and do gradually decay, is 
as absurd as to deny that God waters the earth by daily 
dews, as well as by thunder-showers ; it is as ridiculous 
as to assert, that nobody is carried off by lingering dis- 
orders, but that all men die suddenly, or a few hours after 
they are taken ill, 

I use these comparisons about death, to throw some 
light upon the question which I solve, and not to insinu- 
ate, that the decay and destruction of sin run parallel to 
the decay and dissolution of the body, and that, of course, 
sin must end with our bodily life. Were I to admit this 
unscriptural tenet, I should build again what I have all 
along endeavoured to destroy ; and, as I love consistency, 
I j^hould promise eternal salvation to all unbelievers, — for 
unl>elievers, I presume, will die, that is, will go into 
the Geneva purgatory, as well as believers. Nor do 
I see why death should not be able to destroy the van 
and the main body of sin's forces, if it can so readily 
cut the rear — the remains of sin — in pieces. 

From the preceding observations it appears, that be- 
lievers generally go to Christian perfection, as the disci- 
ples went to the other side of the sea of Galilee, — they 
toiled some time very hard, and with little success ; but 
after they had ^ rowed about twenty-five or thirty fur- 
longs, they saw Jesus walking on the sea. He said to 
them, It is I ; be not afraid. Then they willingly re- 
ceived him into the ship; and immediately the ship was 
at the land whither they went." Just so we toil till our 
faith discovers Christ in the promise, and welcomes him 
into our hearts ; and such is the effect of his presence^ 
that immediately we arrive at the land of perfection. 
Or, to use another illustration, God says to believers, 
'• (Jo to the Canaan of perfect love. Arise ; why do ye 
tarry ? AVaslx away the remains of sin, calling," that is, 
believing, " on the name of the Lord." And if they 

I 5 



178 



LAST CHECK 



submit to the obedience of faith, he deals with them aS 
he did Tvdth the evangelist Philip, to whom he had 
said, "Arise, and go towards the south;" for, when 
they arise and run, as Philip did, the Spirit of the Lord 
takes them, as he did the evangelist, and they are found 
in the new Jerusalem, as " Philip was found at Azotus." 
They dwell in God, or in perfect love ; and God, or per- 
fect love, dwells in them. 

Hence it follows, that the most evangelical method of 
following after the perfection to which we are immedi- 
ately called is, that of seeking it now, by endeavouring 
fully to lay hold on the promise of that perfection, through 
faith, just as if our repeated acts of obedience could never 
help us forward. But, in the mean time, we should do 
the work of faith, and repeat our internal and external 
acts of obedience, with as much earnestness and faithful- 
ness, according to our present power, as if we were sure to 
enter into rest merely by a diligent use of our talents, and 
a faithful exertion of the powers which divine grace has 
bestowed upon us. If we do not attend to the first of 
these directions, we shall seek to be sanctified by works, 
like the pharisees ; and if we disregard the second, we 
shall slide into solifidian sloth with the antinomians. 

This double direction is founded upon the connexion 
of the two gospel axioms. If the second axiom, which 
implies the doctrine of free will, were false, I would only 
say. Be still; or rather, do nothing: free grace alone will do 
all in you and for you. But as this axiom is as true as 
the first, I must add, Strive in humble subordination to 
free grace ; for Christ saith, " To him that hath " initiating 
grace to purpose, more grace " shall be given, and he shall 
have abundance ; " his faithful and equitable Benefactor 
will give him the reward of perfecting grace. 

5. Beware, therefore, of unscriptural refinements. Set 
out for the Canaan of perfect love, with a firm resolu- 
tion to labour for the rest which remains on earth for 
the people of God. Some good, mistaken men, "wise 
above what is "written," and fond of striking out paths 
which were unknown to the apostles, — new paths, marked 
out by voluntary humility, and leading to antinomianism; 



TO ANTINOMIAXISM. 179 

some people of that stamp, I sav, have made it their 
business, from the days of heated Augustine, to decry 
making resolutions. They represent this practice as a 
branch of what they are pleased to call " legality." They 
insinuate, that it is utterly inconsistent with the know- 
ledge of our inconstancy and w^eakness. In a word, 
they frighten us from the first step to Christian perfec- 
tion, — from an humble, evangelical determination to run 
till we reach the prize, or, if you please, to go doAvn 
till we come to the lowest place. It may not be amiss 
to point out the ground of their mistake. Once they 
broke the balance of the gospel axioms, by leaning too 
much towards free will, and by not laying their first 
and principal stress upon free grace. God, to bring them 
to the evangelical mean, refused his blessing to their 
unevangelical willing and running : hence it is that their 
self-righteous resolutions " started aside like a broken 
bow." "When they found out their mistake, instead of 
coming back to the line of moderation, they fled to the 
other extreme : casting all their weights into the scale 
of free grace, they absurdly formed a resolution never to 
fonn a resolution; and, determining not to throw one 
determination into the scale of free will, they began to 
draw all the ])elievers they met with into the ditch of- 
a slotliful quietism and Laodicean stillness. 

You will never steadily go on to perfection, unless 
you get over this mistake. Let the imperfectionists 
laugh at you for making humble resolutions ; but go on, 
" steadf istly purposing to lead a new life," as says our 
church : and, in order to this, steadfastly purpose to get a 
nl"^v heart, in the full sense of the word ; for, so long 
as your heart will continue pai'tly unrenewed, your life 
will be partly unholy; and therefore St. James justly 
observes, that, " if any man offend not in word, he is a 
l><!rfoct man," he loves God with all his heart, his heart is 
fully renewed, it being impossible that an heart still tainted 
in part with vanity and guile should always dictate the 
Words of sincerity and love. Your good resolutions need 
not fail ; nor will they fail, if, under a due sense of the 
fickleness and helplessness of your unassisted free wdll. 



180 LAST CHECK 

you properly depend upon God's faithfulness and assist- 
ance. Holvever, should they fail, as they prohably will do, 
more than once, be not discouraged, but repent, search 
out the cause, and, in the strength of free gi'ace, let your 
assisted free will renew your evangelical purpose, till the 
Lord seals it with his mighty fiat, and says, " Let it be 
done to thee according to thy " resolving " faith." It is 
much better to be laughed at as "poor creatures who 
know nothing of themselves," than to be deluded as fool- 
ish virgins, who fondly imagine that their vessels are full 
of imputed oil. Take, therefore, " the sword of the 
Spirit," and boldly cut this dangerous snare in pieces. 
Conscious of your impotence, and yet laying out your 
talent of free will, say with the prodigal son, " I will 
arise, and go to my father." Say with David, " I will 
love thee, O Lord my God." " I will behold thy 
face in righteousness." " I am purposed that my mouth 
shall not transgress; I will keep it as it were with 
a bridle." " I have said, that I would keep thy word." 
" The proud," and they who are humble in an unscrip- 
tural way, " have had me exceedingly in derision ; but I 
will keep thy precepts with my whole heart." " I have 
sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righte- 
ous judgments." Say with St. Paul, " I am determined 
not to know anything, save Jesus, and him crucified;" 
and with Jacob, " I will not let thee go, unless thou bless 
me." And, to sum up all good resolutions in one, if you 
are a member of the church of England, say, " I have 
engaged to renounce all the vanities of this wicked world, 
all the sinful lusts of the flesh, and all the works of the 
devil ; to believe all the articles of the Christian faith ; and 
to keep God's commandments all the days of my life ; that 
is, I have most solemnly resolved to be a perfect Christian ; 
and this resolution I have publicly sealed, by receiving the 
two sacraments upon it,- — baptism, after my parents and 
sponsors had laid me under this blessed vow, — and the 
Lord's supper, after I had personally ratified, in the 
bishop's presence, what they had done. Nor do I only 
think that I am bound to keep this vow, but, ' by God's 
grace, so I will; and I heartily thank our heavenly 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 181 

Father, that he has called me to this state of salvation," 
and Christian perfection ; " and I pray unto him, to give 
me his grace, that I may " not only attain it, but also 
" continue in the same unto my life's end." Church Cate- 
chism. 

'' ]Much diligence," says Kempis, " is necessary to him 
that Avill profit much. If he who firmly purposeth often 
faileth, what shall he do who seldom or feebly purposeth 
anything ? " But, I say it again and again, do not lean upon 
your free will and good purposes, so as to encroach upon the 
glorious pre-eminence of free grace. Let the first gospel 
axiom stand invariably in its honourable place. Lay your 
principal stress upon divine mercy ; and say with the good 
man whom I have just quoted, " Help me, O Lord God, 
in thy holy service, and grant that I may now this day 
begin perfectly" 

In following this method, ye will do the two gospel 
axioms justice : ye will so depend upon God's free 
grace, as not to fall into pharisaic running ; and ye 
will so exert your own free will, as not to slide into 
antinomian sloth. Your course lies exactly between 
these rocks. To pass these perilous straits your resolving 
heart must acquire an heavenly polarity. Through the 
spiritually magnetic touch of Christ, " the corner stone," 
your soul must learn to point towards faith and works, or, 
if you please, towards a due submission to free grace, 
and a due exertion of free will, as the opposite ends of 
the needle of a compass point towards the north and the 
south, 

(). From this direction flows the following advice : — • 
Resolve to be j)erfect in yourselves, but not of yourselves. 
Tlie antinomians boast that they are perfect only in their 
heavenly Representative. Christ was filled with perfect 
humility and love ; they arc i)erfect in his person ; they 
need not a jn'rfection of humble love in themselves. To 
avoid their error, be perfect in yourselves, and not in 
another ; let your perfection of humility and love be in- 
herent ; let it dwell in you. Let it fill your own heart, 
and influence your own life ; so shall you avoid the 
delusion of the virgins who give you to understand, that 



182 LAST CHECK 

the oil of their perfection is all contained jn that sacred 
vessel wEich formerly hung on the cross, and therefore 
their salvation is finished, they have oil enough in that rich 
vessel, manna enough and to spare in that golden pot. 
Christ's heart was perfect ; and therefore theirs may safely 
remain imperfect, yea, full of indwelling sin, till death, the 
messenger of the bridegroom, come to cleanse them, and fill 
them with perfect love at the midnight cry. Delusive hope ! 
Can anything be more absurd than for a sapless, dry branch 
to fancy that it has sap and moisture enough in the vine 
which it cumbers ? or for an impenitent adulterer to boast, 
that " in the Lord he has " chastity and " righteousness ? " 
Where did Christ ever say, " Have salt in another ? " Does 
he not say, " Take heed that ye be not deceived ?" " Have 
salt in yourselves?" Mark ix. 50. Does he not impute the 
destruction of stony ground hearers to their " not having 
root in themselves?" Matt. xiii. 21. If it was the 
patient man's comfort, that " the root of the matter v/as 
found in him," is it not deplorable to hear modern be- 
lievers say, without any explanatory clause, that they have 
nothing but sin in themselves ? But is it enough to have 
the root in ourselves ? Must we not also have " the 
fruit ;" yea, " be filled with the fruits of righteousness ? " 
Phil. i. 11. Is it not St. Peter's doctrine, where he says, 
" If these things be in you, and abound, ye shall neither 
be barren, nor unfiruitful in the knowledge of Christ ? " 
2 Peter i. 8. And is it not that of David, where 
he prays, " Create in me a clean heart ? " &c. Away 
then with all antinomian refinements; and if, with St. 
Paul, you will have salvation and rejoicing in yourselves, 
and not in another, make sure of holiness and perfection 
in yourselves, and not in another. 

But while you endeavour to avoid the snare of the anti- 
nomians, do not run into that of the pharisees, who will 
have their perfection of themselves ; and therefore, by 
their own unevangelical efforts, self-concerted willings, and 
self-prescribed runnings, endeavour to "raise sparks of 
their own kindling," and to " warm themselves by " their 
own painted fires, and fruitless agitations. Feel your im- 
potence. Own that " no man has quickened " and per-. 



TO ANTINOMIAXISM. 183 

fected " liis own soul." Be contented to invite, receive, 
and welcome the light of life ; but never attempt to reform 
or to engross it. It is your duty to wait for the morning 
lif^ht, and to rejoice when it visits you ; but if you groAV 
so self-conceited as to say, "I will create a sun; let 
there be light ; " or if, when the light visits your eyes, 
you say, " I will bear a stock of light ; I will so fill my 
eves with light to-day, that to-morrow I shall almost be 
able to do my work without the sun, or at least without a 
constant dependence upon its beams ; " would ye not 
betray a species of self-deifying idolatry, and satanical 
pride ? If our Lord himself, as " Son of man," would 
not have one grain of human goodness of himself; if he 
said, " Why callest thou me good ? there is none good," 
self-good, or good of himself, " but God ; " who can 
wonder enough at those proud Christians, who claim some 
self-originated goodness ; boasting of what they have re- 
ceived, as if they had not received it ; or using what they 
have received without an humble sense of their constant de- 
pendence upon their heavenly benefactor ? To avoid this 
horrid delusion of the pharisees, learn to see, to feel, and 
to acknowledge that of the Father, through the Son, and 
by the Holy Ghost, are all your Urim and Thummim, 
your " lights " and " perfections." And while the Lord 
says, " From me is thy fruit found," (Hosea xiv. 8,) bow at 
his footstool, and gratefully reply, " Of thy fulness have 
all we received, and grace for grace." John i. 16. For 
thou art " the Father of lights, from whom cometh every 
good and perfect gift." James i. 17- " Of thee, and 
through thee, and to thee are all things. To thee," 
therefore, "be the glory for ever. Amen." Rom. xi. 36. 

7- You will have this humble and thankful disposition, 
if you let your repentance cast deeper roots. For if 
Christian perfection implies a forsaking all inward as well 
;is outward sin ; and if true repentance is a grace " whereby 
we forsake sin ;" it follows, that, to attain Christian per- 
fection, we must so follow our Lord's evangelical precept, 
' Kepcnt, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," as to 
leave no sin, no bosom-sin, no heart-sin, no indwelling 
8m, unrepented of, and, of consequence, unforsaken. He, 



184 LAST CHECK 

whose heart is still full of indwelling sin has no more 
truly r^ented of indwelling sin, than the man whose 
mouth is still defiled with filthy talking and jesting has 
truly repented of his ribaldry. The deeper our sorrow 
for and detestation of indwelling sin is, the more peni- 
tently "do we confess "the plague of our heart ;" and 
when we properly confess it, we Inherit the Messing 
promised in these words : "If we confess our sins, he.^ is 
faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse, us 
from all unrighteousness." 

To promote this deep repentance, consider hoAv many 
spiritual evils still haunt your breast. Look into the 
inward chamber of imagery, where assuming self-love, 
surrounded by a multitude of vain thoughts, foolish 
desires, and wild imaginations, keeps her court. Grieve 
that your heart, which should be all flesh, is yet partly 
istone ; that your soul, which should be only a temple for 
the Holy Ghost, is yet so frequently turned into a den of 
thieves, an hole for the cockatrice, a nest for a brood of spi- 
ritual vipers, — for the remains of envy, jealousy, fretful- 
ness, anger, pride, impatience, peevishness, formality, 
sloth, prejudice, bigotry, carnal confidence, evil shame, 
self-righteousness, tormenting fears, uncharitable suspi- 
cions, idolatrous love, and I know not how many of the 
evils which form the retinue of hypocrisy and unbelief 
Through grace, detect these evils by a close attention to 
what passes in your own heart at all times, but especially 
in an hour of temptation. By frequent and deep con- 
fession, drag out all these abominations ; these sins which 
would not have Christ to reign alone over you, bring before 
him, place them in the light of his countenance ; and, if 
you do it in faith, that light, and the warmth of his love, 
will kill them, as the light and heat of the sun kill the 
worms which the plough turns up to the open air in a dry 
summer's day. 

Nor plead that you can do nothing : for, by the help of 
Christ, who is always ready to assist the helpless, ye can so- 
lemnly say upon your knees, what ye have probably said in an 
airy manner to your professing friends. If ye ever acknow- 
ledged to them, that your heart is deceitful, prone to leave 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. ]85 

undone -what ye ought to do, and ready to do what ye 
ouf^ht to leave undone, ye can undoubtedly make the 
same confession to God. Complain to him Avho can help 
vou as ye have done to those ^vho cannot ; lament, as you 
are able, the darkness of your mind, the stiffness of 
vour will, the dulness or exorbitancy of your affections ; 
■md importunately entreat the God of all grace to renew a 
right spirit mthin you. If ye " sorrow after this godly 
so^rt, what carefulness " will be " wrought in you, what 
indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, 
vea. what revenge !" Ye will then sing in faith what the 
imperfectionists sing in unbelief : — 

" how I hate those lusts of mine 
That crucified my God ; 
Those sins that pierced and nail'd his flesh 
Fast to the fatal wood ! 

<' Yes, my Redeemer, they shall die, 
My heart hath so decreed ; 
Nor wiU I spare those guilty things 
That made my Saviour bleed. 

" Whilst with a melting, broken heart, 
My murder' d Lord I view, 
I '11 raise revenge against my sins, 
And slay the murderers too." 

8. Closely connected with this deep repentance is the 
practice of a judicious, universal self-denial. " If thou 
wih be perfect," says our Lord, " deny thyself, take up 
thy cross daily, and follow me." " He that loveth father 
or mother," much more, he that loveth praise, pleasure, or 
moni'V, " more than me, is not worthy of me." Nay, 
'' whosoever will save his life, shall lose it ; and whoso- 
ever will lose it for my sake, shall find it." Many desire 
to live and reign with Christ, but few choose to suffer and 
die with him. However, as the way of the cross leads to 
heaven, it undoubtedly leads to Christian perfection. To 
avoid the cross, therefore, or to decline drinking the cup 
of vinegar and gall which God permits your friends or 
foes to mix for you, is to throw away the aloes which 
divine wisdom puts to the breasts of the mother of 
harlots, to wean you from her and her witchcrafts ; it is 
to refuse a medicine which is kindly prepared to restore 



186 LAST CHECK 

your health and appetite ; in a word, it is to renounce the 
Physician who heals all our infirmities, when we take his 
bitter draughts, submit to have our imposthumes opened 
by his sharp lancet, and yield to have our proud flesh 
wasted away by his painful caustics. Our Lord " was 
made" a "perfect" Saviour "through sufferings;" and we 
may be made perfect Christians in the same manner ; we 
may be called to suffer, till all that which we have 
brought out of spiritual Egypt is consumed in an howling 
wilderness, in a dismal Gethsemane, or on a shameful 
Calvary. Should this lot be reserved for us, let us not 
imitate our Lord's imperfect disciples, who " forsook him, 
and fled ;" but let us stand the fiery trial, till all our 
fetters are melted, and all our dross is purged away. Fire 
is of a purgative nature ; it separates the dross from the 
gold ; and the fiercer it is, the more quick and powerful 
is its operation. " He that is left in Zion, and he that 
remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy," &c., " when 
the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daugh- 
ters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusa- 
lem, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of 
burning." Isaiah iv. 3, 4. " I will bring the third part 
through the fire," saith the Lord, " and will refine them 
as sUver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried : 
they shall call on my name, and I will hear them ; I will 
say. It is my people ; and they shall say. The Lord is my 
God." Zech. xiii. 9. Therefore, if the Lord should suffer 
the best men in his camp, or the strongest men in satan's 
army, to cast you into a furnace of fiery temptations, 
come not out of it till you are called ; " let patience have 
its perfect work ;" meekly keep your trying station till 
your heart is disengaged from all that is earthly, and till 
the sense of God's preserving power kindles in you such a 
faith in his omnipotent love as few experimentally know 
but they who have seen themselves like the mysterious 
bush in Horeb, burning, and yet unconsumed ; or they 
who can say with St. Paul, " We are killed all the day 
long ; and, behold, we live !" 

" Temptations," says Kempis, " are often very profit- 
able to men, though they be troublesome and grievous ; for 



TO AXTIXOMIAXISM. 187 

in them a man is humbled, purified, and instructed. All 
the saints have passed through, and profited by, many 
tribulations ; and they that could not bear temptations, 
became reprobates, and fell away." " My son," adds the 
author of Ecclesiasticus, ii. 1 — 5, " if thou come to serve 
the Lord," — "in the" perfect '-beauty of holiness," — "pre- 
pare thy soul for temptation. Set thy heart aright ; con- 
stantly endure ; and make not haste in the time of 
trouble. AYhatever is brought upon thee take cheerfully, 
and be patient when thou art changed to a low estate. 
For gold is tried" and purified " in the fire, and acceptable 
men in the furnace of adversity." And, therefore, says 
St. James, " Blessed is the man that endureth tempta- 
tion ; for, when he is tried," if he stands the fiery trial, 
"he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has 
promised to them that love him " — with the love which 
"endureth" temptation and "all things," that is, with per- 
fect love. James i. 12. Patiently endure, then, when God 
" for a season, if need be," will suffer you to "be in heavi- 
ness through manifold temptations." By this means, 
" the trial of your faith, being much more precious than 
that of gold which perisheth, though it be tried in the 
fire, will be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at 
the appearing of Jesus Christ." 1 Pet. i. 7. 

1>. Deep repentance is good, gospel self-denial is excel- 
lent, and a degree of patient resignation in trials is of 
unspeakable use to attain the perfection of love ; but as 
'• faith " immediately " works by love," it is of far more 
immediate use to purify the soul. Hence it is that 
Christ,, the prophets, and the apostles so strongly insist 
upon faith ; assuring us, that " if we will not believe, we 
shall not be established;" that "if we will believe' we 
shall .see the glory of God," "we shall be saved," and' the 
" rivers of living water shall flow from our inmost souls ;" 
that " our hearts are purified by faith ;" and that "we are 
sHve.l by grace through faith." They tell us, that 
" Chnst gave himself for the church, that he might sanc- 
tify and cleanse it by the word, that he might present 
It to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or 
»Tmkle, or any such thing," but that it should be "holy 



188 LAST CHECK 

and without blemish." Now, if believers are to be 
cleaned and made without blemish by the word, which 
testifies of the all-atoning blood, and the love of the 
Spirit, it is evident, that they are to be sanctified by 
faith ; for faith, or believing, has as necessary a reference 
to the word, as eating has to food. For the same reason 
the apostle observes, that " they who believe enter into 
rest;" that, "a promise being given us to enter in," we 
should " take care not to fall short of it through unbelief;" 
that Ave ought to take warning by the Israelites, who 
" could not enter " into the land of promise, " through 
unbelief;" that we are "filled with all joy and peace in 
believing ;" and that " Christ is able to save to the utter- 
most them who come unto God through him." Now, 
" coming," in the scripture language, is another expression 
for believing : " He that cometh to God," says the apos- 
tle, " must believe." Hence it appears, that faith is pecu- 
liarly necessary to those who will be " saved to the utter- 
most," especially a firm faith in the capital promise of the 
gospel of Christ, — the promise of " the Spirit of holiness," 
from the Father, through the Son. For, " how shall they 
call on him in whom they have not believed ? " Or how 
can they eai'nestly plead the truth, and steadily wait for 
the performance, of a promise in which they have no 
faith ? This doctrine of faith is supported by Peter's 
words : " God, who knoweth the hearts " of penitent 
believers, " bare them witness, giving them the Holy 
Ghost, and purifying their hearts by faith." Acts xv. 8, 9. 
For the same Spirit of faith which initially purifies our 
hearts, when we cordially believe the pardoning love of 
God, completely cleanses them, when we fully believe his 
sanctifying love. 

10. This direction about faith being of the utmost 
importance, I shall confirm and explain it by an extract 
from Mr. "Wesley's forty-third sermon, which points out 
" the scripture way of salvation." " Though it be allowed," 
says this judicious divine, " that both this repentance and 
its fruits are necessary to full salvation, yet they are not 
necessary either in the same sense with faith, or in the same 
degree. Not in the same degree ; for these fruits are only 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 189 

necessary conditionally, — if there be time and opportunity 
for them • otherwise a man may be sanctified mthout them: 
but he cannot be sanctified without faith. Likewise, let a 
man have ever so much of this repentance, or ever so many 
good works, yet all this does not at all avail ; he is not 
sanctified till he believes; but the moment he believes, 
with or without those fruits, yea, with more or less of 
this repentance, he is sanctified. Not in the same sense ; 
for this repentance and these fruits are only remotely 
necessary, necessary in order to the continuance of his 
faith, as well as the increase of it ; whereas faith is imme- 
diately and directly necessary to sanctification. It remains 
that faith is the only condition which is immediately and 
proximately necessary to sanctification. 

'^ But what is that faith whereby we are sanctified, 
saved from sin, and perfected in love ? It is a divine 
evidence and conviction, 1. That God hath promised it 
in the holy scripture. Till we are thoroughly satisfied of 
this, there is no moving one step further. And one 
V, ould imagine, there needed not one word more to satisfy 
a I -asoiiable man of this than the ancient promise : ' Then 
will I circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to 
love the Lord your God Avith all your heart, and with all 
your soul,' How clearly does this express the being per- 
fected in love ! how strongly imply the being saved 
from all sin ! For as long as love takes up the whole 
heart, what room is there for sin therein ? 2. It is a 
divine evidence and conviction, that what God has pro- 
mised he is able to perform. Admitting, therefore, that 
' with men it is impossible to bring ' a clean thing out of 
an unclean,' to purify the heart from all sin, and to fill it 
with all holiness; yet this creates no difficulty in the 
case, seeing ' with God all things are possible.' 3. It is 
an evidence and conviction, that he is able and willing to 
do it now. And why not ? Is not a moment to him the 
same as a thousand years ? Ho cannot want more time 
to accomplish whatever is his will. We may therefore 
boldly say at any point of time, ' Now is the day of salva- 
tion. Behold, all things are now ready; come to the 
iDiuriage.' 4. To this confidence— that God is both 



190 LAST CHECK 

able and willing to sanctify us now — there needs to be 
added one thing more, — a divine evidence and conviction, 
that he doeth it. In that hour it is done. God says to 
the inmost soul, ' According to thy faith be it unto thee.* 
Then the soul is pure from every spot of sin, it is clean 
from all imrighteousness." 

Those who have low ideas of faith will probably be 
surprised to see how much Mr. Wesley ascribes to that 
Christian grace ; and to inquire why he so nearly connects 
our believing that God cleanses us from all sin, with 
God's actual cleansing of us from all sin. But their 
wonder will cease if they consider the definition which 
this divine gives of faith in the same sermon. " Faith in 
general," says he, " is defined by the apostle, an evidence, 
a divine evidence and conviction, (the word used by the 
apostle means both,) of things not seen, not visible, nor 
perceivable either by sight or by any other of the external 
senses. It implies both a supernatural evidence of God 
and of the things of God ; a kind of spiritual light exhi- 
bited to the soul, and a supernatural sight or perception 
thereof. Accordingly the scripture speaks of God's giving 
sometimes light, sometimes a power of discerning it. So 
St. Paul : * God who commanded light to shine out of 
darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give us the light 
of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus 
Christ. And elsewhere the same apostle speaks of ' the 
eyes of our understanding being opened.' By this two- 
fold operation of the Holy Spirit, having the eyes of our 
souls both opened and enlightened, we see the things 
which the natural ' eye hath not seen, neither the ear 
heard.* We have a prospect of the invisible things of 
God ; we see the spiritual world which is all round about 
us, and yet no more discerned by our natural faculties 
than if it had no being ; and we see the eternal world 
piercing through the veil which hangs between time and 
eternity. Clouds and darkness then rest upon it no more, 
but we already see the glory which shall be revealed." 

From this striking definition of faith it is evident that 
the doctrine of this address exactly coincides with Mr. 
Wesley's sermon, with this verbal dificrence only, that 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 191 

what lie calls " faith implying a twofold operation of the 
Spirit, productive of spiritual light and supernatural sight," 
I have called " faith apprehending a sanctifying baptism, 
or outpouring, of the Spirit." His mode of expression 
savours more of the rational divine who logically divides 
the truth, in order to render its several parts conspicuous ; 
and I keep closer to the words of the scriptures, which, 
1 hope, will frighten no candid protestant. I make this 
remark for the sake of those who fancy, that when a 
doctrine is clothed with expressions which are not quite 
familiar to them, it is a new doctrine, although these 
expressions should be as scriptural as those of a baptism 
or outpouring of the Spirit, which are used by some of 
the prophets, by John the baptist, by the four evangelists, 
and by Christ himself 

I have already pointed out the close connexion there is 
between an act of faith which fully apprehends the sanc- 
tifying promise of the Father, and the power of the 
Spirit of Christ, which makes an end of moral corrup- 
tion by forcing the lingering man of sin instantaneously 
to breathe out his last. Mr. Wesley in the above-quoted 
sermon touches upon this delicate subject in so clear 
and concise a manner, that while his discourse is before 
me, lor the sake of those who have it not at hand, I shall 
transcribe the whole passage, and, by this means, put the 
j?Lal of that eminent divine to what I have advanced in 
the preceding pages about sanctifying faith, and the quick 
destruction of sin. 

'• Does ( lod work this great work in the soul gradually or 
instantaneously ? Perhaps it may be gradually wrought in 
sonic, I mean in this sense, — they do not advert to the par- 
ticular moment wherein sin ceases to be. But it is infinitely 
desirable, were it the will of God, that it should be done 
instantaneously ; that the Lord should destroy sin ' by the 
breath of his mouth,' in a moment, in the twinkling of an 
eye. And so he generally does, — a plain fact, of which 
there is evidence enough to satisfy any unprejudiced per- 
son. Thou therefore look for it every moment. Look 
f T it in the way above described; in all those good works, 
whercunto thou art created anew in Christ Jesus. There 



192 LAST CHECK 

is then no danger ; you can be no worse, if you are no 
bettep, for that expectation. For were you to be disap- 
pointed of your hope, still you lose nothing. But 
you shall not be disappointed of your hope ; it will 
come, and will not tarry. Look for it then every 
day, every hour, every moment. Why not this hour, 
this moment? Certainly you may look for it now, 
if you believe it is by faith. And by this token 
you may surely know whether you seek it by faith or by 
works. If by works, you want something to be done 
first, before you are sanctified. You think, ' I must first 
be or do thus or thus.' Then you are seeking it by works 
unto this day. If you seek it by faith, you may expect it 
as you are ; and if as you are, then expect it now. It is 
of importance to observe that there is an inseparable con- 
nexion between these three points, — expect it by faith, 
expect it as you are, and expect it now. To deny one of 
them is to deny them all : to allow one is to allow them 
all. Do yoti believe we are sanctified by faith? Be 
true then to your principle, and look for this blessing 
just as you are, neither better nor worse, as a poor sinner 
that has still nothing to pay, nothing to plead, but ' Christ 
died.' And if you look for it as you are, then expect 
it now. Stay for nothing : why should you ? Christ 
is ready, and he is all you want. He is waiting for you ; 
he is at the door ! Let your inmost soul cry out, 

* Come in, come in, thou heavenly guest ! 
Nor hence again remove : 
But sup with me, and let the feast 
Be everlasting love.' " 

11. Social prayer is closely connected with faith, in the 
capital promiie of the sanctifying Spirit; and therefore I 
earnestly recommend that mean of grace, where it can be 
had, as being eminently conducive to the attaining of Chris- 
tian perfection. When many believing hearts are lifted up, 
and wrestle with God in prayer together, you may compare 
them to many diligent hands which work a large machine. 
At such times, particularly, the fountains of the great deep 
are broken up, the windows of heaven are opened, and "rivers 
of livins: water flow" from the heart of obedient believers. 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 193 

" In Christ when brethren join, 
And follow after peace, 
The fellowship divine 
He promises to bless, 
His chiefest graces to bestow 
Where two or three are met below. 

" 'N^Tiere tmity takes place, 

The joys of heaven we prove ; 
This is the gospel grace. 
The unction from above, 
The Spirit on all believers shed. 
Descending swift from Christ their head." 

Accordingly we read, that, wlien God powerfully opened 
the kingdom of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, 
the disciples " were all with one accord in one place." 
And when he confirmed that kingdom, they were lifting 
up '' their voice to God with one accord." See Acts ii. 1, 
and iv. 24. Thus also the believers at Samaria were 
filled with the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier, while Peter 
and John prayed with them, and laid hands upon 
them. 

1'2. But perhaps thou art alone. As a solitary bird 
which sittetli on the housetop, thou lookest for a com- 
panion who may go with thee through the deepest travail 
u{' tlic regeneration. But alas ! thou lookest in vain; all tlie 
prot'essors about thee seem satisfied with their former expe- 
riences, and with self-imputed or self-conceited perfection. 
^Vlien thou ^ivest them a hint of thy want of power from 
on hi;^'Ii, and of thy hunger and thirst after a fulness of 
riglit(MUsne>s, they do not sympathize with thee. And 
indeed how can they ? "They are full" already, "they 
reign without thee, tliey have need of nothing." They 
do not sensibly want that "(iod would grant them, ac- 
cording to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with 
might in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in their 
hearts liy faith, that they, being rooted and grounded in 
love, may comprehend with all saints" perfected in love, 
'' what is the ])r(>;idth, and length, and depth, and height, 
and to know the love of ( "luist which passeth knowledge, 
that they might ho filled with all the fulness of God." 
Kph. iii. 10, &c. They look upon thee as a whimsical 
person, full of singular notions ; and they rather damp, 
Vol. v. K 



194 LAST CHECK 

than enliven, thy hopes. Thy circumstances are sad ; but 
do not give place to despair, no, not for a momentj;^ In the 
name of Christ, who could not get even Peter, James, 
and John to watch with him one hour, and who was 
obliged to go through his agony alone ; in his name, I say, 
"cast not away thy confidence, which has great recompence 
oX-XeHard." Under all thy discouragements, remember"' 
that, after all, divine grace is not confined to numbers, any 
more than to a few. When all outward helps fail thee, 
make the more of Christ, " on whom" . sufficient " help is 
laid " for thee, — Christ, who says, " I will go with thee 
through fire and water;" the former "shall not burn 
thee, nor" the latter "drown thee." Jacob was alone 
when he wrestled with the angel, yet he prevailed ; and 
if " the servant is not above his master," wonder not that 
it should be said of thee, as of thy Lord, when he went 
through his greatest temptations, " Of the people there 
was none with him." 

Should thy conflicts be "with confused noise, with 
burning, and fuel of fire;" should thy "Jerusalem be re- 
built in troublous times ; " should the Lord " shake not the 
earth only, but also heaven;" should "deep call unto deep at 
the noise of his waterspouts ; " should " all his waves and 
billows go over thee ; " should thy patience be tried to 
the uttermost; remember how in years past thou hast 
tried the patience of God, nor be discouraged : an ex- 
tremity and a storm are often God's opportunity. A blast 
of temptation, and a shaking, of all thy foundations, may 
introduce the fulness of God to thy soul, and answer the 
end of the rushing wind, and of the shaking, which for- 
merly accompanied the first great manifestations of the 
Spirit. The Jews still expect the coming of the Messiah 
in the flesh, and they particularly expect it in a storm. 
When lightnings flash, when thunders roar, when a strong 
wind shakes their houses, and the tempestuous sky seems 
to rush down in thunder-showers ; then some of them 
particularly open their doors and windows to entertain 
their wished-for deliverer. Do spiritually, what they do 
carnally. Constantly wait for full "power from on high;" 
but especially when a storm of affliction, temptation, or 



TO ANTINOMIAJS'ISM. 195 

distress overtakes thee ; or when thy convictions and 
desires raise thee ahove thyself, as the waters of the flood 
raised Noah's ark above the earth ; then be particularly 
careful to throw the door of faith and the window of hope 
as wide open as thou canst, and, spreading the arras of thy 
imperfect love, say with all the ardour and resignation 
which thou art master of, — 

" My heart-strings groan with deep complaint, 
My flesh lies panting, Lord, for thee j 
And every limb, and every joint, 
Stretches for perfect purity." 

But if the Lord is pleased to come softly to thy help ; if 
he makes an end of thy corruptions by helping thee gently 
to sink to unkno\vn depths of meekness ; if he drowns 
the indwelling man of sin by baptizing, by plunging him 
into an abyss of humility ; do not find fault with the 
simplicity of his method, the plainness of his appearinf?, 
and the commonness of his prescription. Nature, like 
Naaman, is full of prejudices. She expects that Christ 
will come to make her clean with as much ado, pomp, and 
bustle, as the Syrian general looked for when '" he was 
wroth, and said. Behold, I thought, he will surely come out 
to me, and stand, and call on his God, and strike his hand 
over the place, and recover the leper. " Christ frequently 
goes a much plainer way to work ; and by this means he 
disconcerts all our preconceived notions and schemes of 
deliverance. '" *■ Learn of me to be meek and lowly in 
heart, and thou shalt find rest to thy soul,' the sweet nst 
of Christian perfection, of perfect humility, resignation, 
and meekness. Lie at my feet, as she did who loved nmch, 
and was meekly taken up ' with the good part,' and * t he- 
one thing needful.'" But thou frettest, thou despisest this 
robe of perfection, it is too plain for thee, thou slightest 
tho '• ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which, in the 
sight of God, is of great price." Nothing will serve thy 
turn but a tawdry coat of many colours, which may phase 
thy proud self-will, and draw the attention of others, by 
its glorious and flaming appearance; and it must 1m« 
brought to thee with " lightnings, thunderings, and voices." 

K 2 



106 LAST CHECK 

If this is ihj disposition, wonder not at the divine wis- 
dom -^hich thinks fit to disappoint thy lofty prejudices; 
and let me address thee as Naaman's servants addressed 
him : — " My " brother, " if the prophet had bid thee do 
some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it ? how 
much rather then, when he says to thee, " " I am the meek 
and lowly Lamb of God," " wash " in the stream of my 
blood, plunge in the Jordan of my humility, " and be 
clean ? " Instead therefore of going away from a plain 
Jesus in a rage, welcome him in his lowest appearance, 
and be persuaded that he can as easily make an end of 
thy sin by gently coming in a still, small voice, as by 
rushing in upon thee in a storm, a fire, or an earthquake. 
The Jews rejected their Saviour, not so much because they 
did not earnestly desire his coming, as because he did not 
come in the manner in which they expected him. It is 
probable that some of this Judaism cleaves to thee. If 
thou wilt absolutely come to mount Sion in a triumphal 
chariot, or make thine entrance into the new Jerusalem 
upon a prancing horse, thou art likely never to come there. 
Leave then aU thy lordly misconceptions behind ; and 
humbly follow thy king, who makes his entry into the 
typical Jerusalem, " meek and lowly, riding upon an ass," 
yea, " upon a colt, the foal of an ass." I say it again 
therefore, whilst thy faith and hope strongly insist on the 
blessing, let thy resignation and patience leave to God's 
infinite goodness and wisdom the peculiar manner of 
bestowing it. When he says, " Surely I come quickly " 
to " make my abode with thee," let thy faith close in with 
his word ; ardently and yet meekly embrace his promise ; 
it will instantly beget power, and with that power thou 
mayest instantly bring forth prayer, and possibly the prayer 
which opens heaven, humbly wrestles with God, inherits 
the blessing, and turns the well-known petition, " Amen ! 
Even so, come. Lord Jesus," into the well-known praises, 
" He is come ! He is come ! Praise the Lord, O my soul," 
Sec. Thus repent, believe, and obey; and "he that 
cometh, will come " with a fulness of pure, meek, humble 
love : " He will not tarry ; " or, if he tarries, it will be to 
give to thy faith and desires more time to open, that thou 



TO ANTINOMIAMSM. 197 

maycst at his appearing be able to take in more of his 
perfecting grace and sanctifying power. Besides, thv 
expectation of his coming is of a purifying nature, and 
gradually sanctifies thee. " He that has this hope in 
him," by this very hope "purifies himself even as God is 
pure." For " we are saved " into perfect love " by hope," 
as well as " by faith." The " stalk " bears "' the full corn 
in the ear," as well as the " root." 

Up, then, thou sincere expectant of God's kingdom ; let 
thy humble, ardent, free will meet prevenient, sanctifying, 
free grace in its weakest and daikest appearance, as the 
father of the faithful met the Lord, when he " appeared to 
him in the plain of Mamre " as a mere mortal : " Abra- 
ham lifted up his eyes, and looked; and, lo, three men stood 
by him : " so does free grace, if I may venture upon the 
allusion, invite itself to thy tent ; nay, it is now with thee 
in its creating, redeeming, and sanctifying influences. 
'• And when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the 
tent door, and bowed himself towards the ground :" " Go 
and do likewise ; " if thou seest any beauty in the hum- 
bling " grace of our Lord Jesus Clirist," in the sanctifying 
''love of God," and in the comfortable '' fellowsbip of tbe 
Holy Ghost," Itt thy free will '' run to meet them, and 
bow itself toward the ground." ( ) for a speedy going out 
of thy tent, — thy sinful self! O for a race of desire in 
the way of faith ! for incessant prostrations ! O for ;i 
meek and deep bowing of thyself before thy divine Deli- 
verer ! *' And Abraham said, My Lord, if now I have 
found favour in thy sight, j)ass not away, I pray thee, 
from thy servant." O for the liuml)le pressing of a lovini; 
faith! O for the faith wliich 8toj)ped the sun when God 
aveiipd his people in the days of Joshua ! O for the 
importunate faith of the two disciples who detained Christ 
w hen " lie made as though he would have gone farther ! 
— They constrained him, saying. Abide with us; for it is 
towards evening, and the day is far spent. And he went 
in to tarry with them." He soon, indeed, " vanished our 
of their " l)odily " sigiit," because they were not cilled 
always to enjoy his bodily presence. Far from proniisinL,' 
them that blessing, he had said, " It is expedient for you 



198 LAST CHECK 

that I go away ; for if I go not away, the Comforter wilj 
not come unto you ; hut if I depart, I will send him unta 
you, that he may abide with you for ever. He dwelleth 
with you, and shall be in you." This promise is still 
" yea and amen in Christ :" only plead it according to the 
preceding directions ; and as sure as our Lord is " the true 
and faithful Witness," so sure will " the God of hope " 
and love soon " fill you with all joy and peace, that ye 
may abound in " pure love, as well as in confirmed " hope, 
through the power of the Holy Ghost." Then shall you 
have an indisputable right to join the believers who sing 
at the Tabernacle, and at the Lock-chapel, — 

" Many are we now, and one, 
We who Jesus have put on : 
There is neither bond nor free, 
Male nor female, Lord, in thee. 
Love, like death, hath all destroy'd, 
Render'd all distinctions void ; 
Names, and sects, and parties fall ; 
Thou, O Christ, art all in all." 

In the mean time, you may sing, with the pious 
countess of Huntingdon, the Rev. Mr. Madan, the Rev. 
Dr. Conyers, the Rev. Mr. Berridge, Richard Hill, esq., 
and the imperfectionists who use their collections of 
hymns ; ye may sing, I say, with them all, the two 
following hymns, which they have agreed to borrow from 
the hymns of Messrs. Wesley, after making some insigni- 
ficant alterations. I transcribe them from the collection 
used in lady Huntingdon's chapels, Bristol edition, 1765, 
page 239. 

" O for a heart to praise my God, 
A heart from sin set free, 
A heart that's sprinkled with the blood 
So freely spilt for me ; 

" A heart resiga'd, submissive, meek, 
My dear Redeemer's throne, 
Where only Christ is heard to speak, 
Where Jesus reigns alone ; 

" An humble, lowly,, contrite heart. 
Believing, true, and clean. 
Which neither life nor death can part 
From him that dwells within ; 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 199 

" A heart in every thought renew'd, 
And fill'd with love divine, 
Perfect, and right, and pure, and good, 
A copy, Lord, of thine ! " &c. 

" My heart, thou know'st, can never rest 
Till thou create my peace ; 
TiU, of mine Eden re-possess'd, 
From self and sin I cease. 

*' Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart ; 
Come quickly from abovej 
^^'rite thy nevr name upon my heart, 
Thy new, best name of love." 

Here is undoubtedly an evangelical prayer for the love 
which restores the soul to a state of sinless rest and evan- 
gelical perfection. Mean ye, my brethren, what the good 
people who dissent from us print and sing, and I ask no 
more. Nor can ye wait for an answer to the prayer con- 
tained in the preceding hymn in a more scriptural man- 
ner, than by pleading the " promise of the Father" in 
such words as these : — 

*' Love divine, all love excelling, 

Joy of heaven, to earth come down ; 
Fix in us tliine humble dwelling, 

All thy faithful mercies crown : 
Josus, thou art all compassion, 

Pure, unlnmnded love thou art ; 
Vh'n us with thy salvation. 

Enter every trembling heart. 

" Breathe, O breatlie thy loving Spirit 

Into every troubled breast ! 
lA-t us all in thee uiherit, 

Let as fiud thy promised rest : • 
Take away the power of sinning, t 

Alpha and Omega be, 
End of faith, as its beginning, 

Set our hearts at liberty. 

" Come, almighty to deliver, 
Let us all tliy life nTi-ivo ; 
Suddenly return, and n«vor, 
Never more thy temples leave : 

• Mr. Wesley says, " second rest," because an Imperfect believer 
enjoyg a first, ioferior rest : if he did not, he would be no belies-er. 

t Is not this expression too strong ? Would it not be better ti. 
soften it u Mr. Hill has done, by saying, " Take away the love of" (or 
the bent to) "sinning ?" Can Ood take awny from us onr " power of 
winning," without tAklog away oar power of fne obedience ? 



^200 LAST CHECK 

Thee we would be always blessing, 

Serve thee as thine hosts above ; 
Pray, and praise thee without ceasing. 

Glory in thy precious love.* 

" Finish then thy new creation, 

Pure, tinspotted t may we be j 
Let us see thy great salvation. 

Perfectly restored by thee : 
Changed from glory into glory. 

Till in heaven we take our place ; 
Tin we cast our crowns before £hee, 

Lost in wonder, love, and praise." 

Lift up your hands which hang down ; our Aaron, our 
heavenly High Priest, is near to hold them up. The 
spiritual Amalekites will not always prevail ; our Samuel, 
our heavenly prophet, is ready to cut them and their- 
" king in pieces before the Lord." " The promise is unto 
you." You are surely called to attain the perfection of 
your dispensation, although you seem still afar oflP. Christ, 
in whom that perfection centres ; Christ, from whom it 
flows, is very near, even at the door : " Behold," says he, 
(and this he spake to Laodicean loiterers,) " I stand at 
the door, and knock ; if any man hear my voice, and open, 
I will come in, and sup with him," upon the fruits of my 
grace in their Christian perfection; "and he" shall sup "with 
me," upon the fruits of my glory, in their angelical and 
heavenly maturity. 

• Mr. Wesley says " perfect love," with St. John. 

t Mr. Wesley says, indeed, " pure and sinless ; " but when Mr. Hill 
sings "pure, imspotted," he does not spoil the sense. For everyboiy 
knows, that the " pure, unspotted" Jesua does not differ from the sin- 
less, immaculate Lamb of God. This fine hymn, I think, is not in Mr. 
Madan's collection ; but he has probably sung it more than once. How- 
ever, it is adopted in the Shrewsbury Collection, of which Mr. HiU is 
the publisher, in conjunction with Mr. Pe Courcy. Is it not surprising 
that, in bis devotional warmth, that gentleman should print, give out, 
and sing Mr. Wesley's strongest hymns for Christian perfection, when, 
in his controversial heat, he writes so severely against this blessed state 
of heart ? And may not I take my leave of him by an allusion to our 
Lord's words : " Out of thy own mouth" — thy own pen, thy own pub- 
lications, thy ovra hymns, thy own prayers, thy own bible, thy own rea- 
son, thy own conscience, and (what is most astonishing) thy own pro- 
fession and baptismal vow — " I will judge" thy mistakes ? Neverthe- 
less, I desire the reader to impute them, as I do, not to any love for 
indwelling sin, but to the fatal error which makes my pious opponent 
turn his back upon the genuine doctrines of grace and justice, aad 
espouse the spurious doctrines of Calviiuan grace and free wrath* 



TO ANTINOMIAXISM. 201 

Hear this encouraging gospel : " Ask, and you shall 
have ; seek, and you shall find ; knock, and it shall be 
opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth ; 
and he that seeketh, findeth ; and to him that knocketh, 
it shall be opened." " If any of you" believers " lack 
wisdom," (indwelling ^visdom ; " Christ, the wisdom and 
the power of God, dwelling in his heart by faith,") " let 
him ask of God, who giveth to all men, and upbraideth 
not ; and it shall be given him. But let him ask" as a 
believer, " in faith, nothing wavering ; for he that waver- 
eth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and 
tossed ; for let not that man think that he shall receive 
the thing which he" thus "asketh." But "whatsoever 
things ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive 
them, and ye shall have them." For "all things" com- 
manded and promised "are possible to him that believeth." 
He who has commanded us to be " perfect" in love '" as 
our heavenly Father is perfect," and he who has promised 
*' speedily to avenge his elect, who cry to him night and 
day," he will speedily avenge you of your grand adver- 
sary, indwelling sin. He will say to you, " According 
to thy faith be it done unto thee ; for he is able to do far 
exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think ;" 
and " of his fulness" we may " all receive grace for grace ;" 
we may all witness the gracious fulfilment of all the pro- 
mises which he has graciously maile, "that by them we 
might \)c partakers of the divine nature," so far as it caii 
hr communicated to mortals in this world. You sec that, 
with men, what you look for is impossible ; but show 
yourselves believers ; take Clod into the account, and you 
will soon experience, that " with God all things are pos- 
sible." Xor forget the omnipotent Advocate wliom you 
have with him. Behold, he lifts his once pierced hands, 
and says, " Father, sanctify them through thy" loving 
•"truth, that they vaay Ix- perfected in one;" and, show- 
ing to you the fountain of atoning blood, and purifying 
water, whence flow the streams which cleanse and gladden 
the heart of believers, lie says, " Hitherto ye have asked 
nothing in my name ; whatsoever you shall ask the Fatht r 
in ray name, he will give it you." " Ask," then, " that 

K 5 



202 LAST CHECK 

your joy may be full." If I try your faith by a little 
delay,, if I hide my face for a moment, it is only to gather 
you with everlasting kindness. " A woman, when she is 
in travail, hath sorrow, because her hour is come ; but as 
soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth 
no more the anguish for joy. JSTow ye have sorrow ; but 
I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and 
your joy no man taketh from you. In that day ye shall 
ask me no question," for you shall not have my bodily 
presence ; but my Urim and Thummim will be with you ; 
and " the Spirit of truth will himself lead you into all " 
Christian " truth." 

** O for a firm and lasting faith, 
To credit all the Almighty saith, 
To' embrace the promise of his Son, 
And feel the Comforter our own." 

In the mean time, be not afraid to " give glory to God " 
by " believing in hope against hope. Stagger not at the 
promise" of the Father and the Son, "through unbelief;" 
but trust the power and faithfulness of your Creator and 
Redeemer, till your Sanctifier has fixed his abode in your 
heart. Wait at mercy's door, as the lame beggar did at 
the " beautiful gate of the temple. Peter, fastening his 
eyes upon him, with John, said. Look on us ; and he gave 
heed to them, expecting to receive something of them." 
Do so too ; give heed to the Father in the Son, who says, 
" Look unto me, and be ye saved." Expect to receive the 
"one thing" now " needful " for you, — a fulness of the 
sanctifying Spirit; and though your patience may be 
tried, it shall not be disappointed. The faith and power 
which, at Peter's wordy gave the poor cripple a perfect 
soundness in the presence of all the wondering Jews will 
give you, at Christ's word, a perfect soundness of heart, in 
the presence of all your adversaries. 

" Faith, mighty faith the promise sees, 
And looks to that alone, 
Laughs at impossibilities, 
And cries, Lt shall be done. 

" Faith asks impossibilities ; 
Impossibilities are given : 
And I, even I, from sin shall cease, 
Shall live on earth the life of heaven." 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 203 

"Faith" always "works by love," by love of desire, 
at least, making us ardently pray for what we believe to be 
eminently desirable. And if Christian perfection appears 
so to you, you might, perhaps, express your earnest desire 
of it in some such words as these : — " How long, Lord, 
shall my soul, thy spiritual temple, be a den of thieves, 
or an house of merchandise ? How long shall vain 
thoughts profane it, as the buyers and sellers profaned thy 
temple made with human hands ? How long shall evil 
tempers lodge within me? How long shall unbelief, 
formality, hypocrisy, envy, hankering after sensual plea- 
sure, indifference to spiritual delights, and backwardness 
to painful or ignominious duty, harbour there? How 
long shall these sheep and doves, yea, these goats and 
serpents, defile my breast, which should be pure as the 
holy of holies? how long shall they hinder me from 
being one of the worshippers whom thou seekest, — one of 
those who worship thee in spirit and in truth ? help 
me to take away these cages of unclean birds ! ' Sud- 
denly come to thy temple.' Turn out all that offends the 
eye of thy purity ; and destroy all that keeps me out of 
' the rest which remains for thy ' Christian ' people ; 
80 shall I keep a spiritual sabbath, a Christian jubilee to 
the Cjod of my life ; so shall I witness my share in the oil 
of joy with which thou anointest perfect Christians above 
their fellow-believers. I stand in need of that oil, Lord : 
my lamp burns dim ; sometimes it seems to be even gone 
out. as that of the foolish virgins : it is more like a 
' smoking flax,' than a * burning and shining light' O 
<juench it not ; raise it to a flame. Thou knowest that I 
do believe in tliee. The trembling hand of my faith holds 
thee ; and though I have ten thousand times grieved thy 
pardoning love, thine everlasting arm is still under me, to 
redeem my life from destruction ; while thy right hand is 
over me, to crown me with mercies and lovingkindness. 
Hut, alas! I am neither sufiiciently thankful for thy 
})rescnt mercies, nor sufficiently athirst for thy future 
favours ; hence I feel an aching void in my soul, being 
conscious that I have not attained the heights of grace 
described in thy ^vord, and enjoyed by thy holiest ser~ 



204 LAST CHECK 

vants. Their deep experiences, the diligence and ardour 
vnth. which they did thy will, the patience and fortitude 
with which they endured the cross, reproach me, and con- 
vince me of my manifold wants. I want power from on 
high ; I want the penetrating, lasting unction of the holy 
One ; I want to have my vessel — my capacious heart — 
full of the ' oil which makes the countenance ' of wise vir- 
gins 'cheerful ;' I want a lamp of heavenly illumination, 
and a fire of divine love, burning day and night in my 
breast, as the typical lamps did in the temple, and the 
sacred fire on the altar ; I want a full application of ' the 
blood which cleanses from all sin,' and a strong faith in 
thy sanctifying word, a faith by which thou mayest dwell 
in my heart, as the unwavering hope of glory, and the 
fixed object of my love : I want the internal oracle, — thy 
' still, small voice,' — together with Urim and Thummim,* — 
' the new name which none knoweth but he that receiveth 
it : in a word. Lord, I want a plenitude of thy Spirit, the 
full promise of the Father, and the rivers which flow fromt 
the inmost soul of the believers who have gone on to the 
perfection of thy dispensation. I do believe that thou 
canst and wilt thus ' baptize me with the Holy Ghost, and 
with fire.' Help my unbelief; confirm and increase my 
faith, with regard to this important baptism. ' Lord, I 
have need to be ' thus ^ baptized of thee,' and ' I am strait- 
ened till this baptism is accomplished.' By thy baptisms 
of tears in the manger, of water in Jordan, of sweat in 
Gethsemane, ' of blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke,' 
and flaming wrath on Calvary, baptize, O baptize my 
soul, and make as full an end of the original sin which I 
have firom Adam, as thy last baptism made of the ' like- 
ness of sinful flesh ' which thou hadst from a daughter of 
Eve. Some of thy people look at death for full salva- 
tion from sin ; but at thy command. Lord, I look unto 
thee. Say to my soul, ' I am thy salvation ;' and let 
me feel in my heart, as well as see with my under- 
standing, that thou canst 'save' from sin 'to the utter- 
most all that come to God through thee.' I am tired 
of forms, professions, and orthodox notions, so far as 

* Two Hebrew words wbich mean " lights " and " perfections." 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 205 

they are not pipes or channels to convey life, light, and 
love to my dead, dark, and stony heart. Neither the 
plain letter of thy gospel, nor the sweet foretastes and 
transient illuminations of thy Spirit, can satisfy the large 
desires of my faith. Give me thine abiding Spirit, that 
he may continually shed abroad thy love in my soul. 
Come, Lord, with that blessed Spirit ; come, thou and 
thy Father, in that holy Comforter ; come to make your 
abode with me ; or I shall go meekly mourning to 
ray grave. Blessed mourning ! Lord, increase it. I 
had rather wait in tears for thy fulness, than wantonly 
waste the fragments of thy spiritual bounties, or feed 
with Laodicean contentment upon the tainted manna of 
my former experiences. Righteous Father, I hunger and 
thirst after thy righteousness : send thy Holy Spirit of pro- 
mise, to fill me theremth, to sanctify me throughout, and to 
seal me centrally to the day of eternal redemption, and 
finished salvation. 'Not for works of righteousness which 
I have done, but of thy mercy, for Christ's sake, ' save 
thou me by the ' complete ' Avashing of regeneration, and 
the' full "renewing of the Holy Ghost;' and in order 
to this, pour out of thy Spirit, shed it abundantly on me, 
till the fountain of living water abundantly springs up in 
my soul, and I can say, in the full sense of the words, 
that • thou livest in rae,' that ' my life is hid with thee 
ill God,' and that 'my spirit is returned to him that 
pave it, — to thee, the first and the last, my author and 
my (.■iid, iny God and my all." 



SECTION XX. 

Ye have not sung the preceding hymns in vain, O ye 
men of Gud, who have mixed faith with your evangelical 
requests. The (lod who says, " Open thy mouth wide, 
and I will fill it;'' — the gracious God who declares, 
" Blessed are they that hunger after righteousness, for 
they shall be filled ;"— that faithful, covenant-keeping God 
has now " filled you with all righteousness, peace, and joy 



206 LAST CHECK 

in believing." The brightness of Christ's appearing has^ 
destroyed the indwelling man of sin. He who had slain 
the lion and the bear, he who had already done so great 
things for you, has now crowned all his blessings by slay- 
ing the Goliath within. Aspiring, unbelieving self is 
fallen before the victorious Son of David. The " quick 
and powerful word of God," which is " sharper than any 
two-edged sword," has " pierced even to the dividing 
asunder of soul and spirit." The carnal mind is cut off; 
" the circumcision of the heart, through the Spirit," has 
fully taken place in your breasts ; and now " that mind 
is in you which was also in Christ Jesus ;" ye are spirit- 
ually-minded ; loving God with all your heart, and your 
neighbour as yourselves, ye are full of goodness, ye keep 
the commandments, ye observe " the law of liberty," ye 
*' fulfil the law of Christ. Of him" ye have " learned to 
be meek and lowly in heart." Ye have fully " taken his 
yoke upon you j" in so doing, ye have "found" a sweety 
abiding " rest unto your souls ; " and from blessed expe- 
rience ye can say, " Christ's yoke is easy, and his burden 
is light ;" his " ways are ways of pleasantness, and all 
tis paths are peace ;" "all the paths of the Lord are 
mercy and truth, unto such as keep his covenant and 
his testimonies." The beatitudes are sensibly yours ; and 
the charity described by St. Paul has the same place in 
your breasts which the tables of the law had in the ark 
of the covenant. Ye are the living temples of the Trinity ; 
the Father is your Mfe, the Son your light, the Spirit 
your love ; ye are truly baptized into the mystery of God, 
ye continue to " drink into one Spirit," and thus ye enjoy 
the grace of both sacraments. There is an end of your 
" lo, here !" and " lo, there !" " The kingdom of God is" 
now established "within you." Christ's "righteousness, 
peace, and joy" are rooted in your breasts " by the Holy 
Ghost given unto you," as an abiding guide and indwell- 
ing comforter. Your introverted eye of faith looks at 
God, who gently ".guides you with his eye into all the 
truth" necessary to make you " do justice, love mercy, 
and walk humbly with your God." Simplicity of inten- 
tion keeps darkness out of your mind, and purity of affeo- 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 207 

tlon keeps wrong fires out of your breast. By the former 
ye are without guile ; by the latter ye are without envy. 
Your passive will instantly melts into the will of God ; 
and on all occasions you meekly say, " Not my will, O 
Father, but thine be done ;" thus are ye always ready to 
suffer >vhat you are called to suffer. Your active will 
evermore says, " Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth : what 
wouldest thou have me to do? It is my meat and 
drink to do the will of my heavenly Father;" thus 
are ye always ready to do whatsoever ye are convinced 
that God calls you to do ; and " whatsoever ye do, 
whether ye eat, or drink, or do any thing else, ye da 
all to the glory of God, and in the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ ; rejoicing evermore ; praying without ceas- 
ing ; in every thing giving thanks ;" solemnly " looking 
for, and hasting unto," the hour of your dissolution, and 
" the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire 
shall be dissolved," and your soul, being clothed with a 
celestial body, shall be able to do celestial services to the 
God of your life. 

In this blessed state of Christian perfection, the holy 
" anointing which ye have received of him abideth in 
you, and ye need not that any man teach you, unless 
it be as the same anointing teacheth." Agreeably, there- 
fore, to that anointing, Avhich teaches by a variety of 
means, wlucli formerly taught a prophet by an ass, and 
daily instructs God's children by the ant, I shall venture 
to set before you some important directions, which the 
Holy (J host has already suggested to your pure minds: 
lor '• I would not be negligent to put you in remem- 
lirance of these things, though ye know them, and be 
established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet to 
stii- you up by putting you in remembrance," and giving 
you some hints, which it is safe for you frequently to 
meditate upon. 

I. Adam, ye know, lost his human perfection in para- 
dise ; satan lost his angelic perfection in heaven ; the 
devil thrust sore at Christ in the wilderness, to throw 
him down from his mediatorial perfection ; and St. Paul, 
in the same epistles where he professes not only Christian, 



208 LAST CHECit 

but apostolic perfection also, (Phil. iii. 15 ; 1 Cor. ii. 6 ;' 
2 Cor^xii. 11,) informs us, that he continued to "run 
for the crown of heavenly" perfection like a man who 
might not only lose his crown of Christian perfection, but 
become a reprobate, and be cast away, 1 Cor. ix. 25 — 
27. And therefore so run ye also, "that no man take 
your crown" of Christian perfection in this world, and 
" that ye may obtain" your crown of angelic perfection 
in the world to come. Still keep your body under. Still 
guard your senses. Still watch your own heart ; and, 
" steadfast in the faith," still " resist the devil," that he 
may "flee from you;" remembering, that if Christ him- 
self, as Son of man, had " conferred with flesh and 
blood," refused to deny himself, and avoided taking up 
his cross, he had lost his perfection, and sealed up our 
original apostasy. 

" We do not find," says Mr. Wesley, in his Plain 
Account of Christian Perfection, " any general state de- 
scribed in scripture from which a man cannot draw back 
to sin. If there were any state wherein this was impos- 
sible, it would be that of those who are sanctified, who 
are fathers in Christ, who ' rejoice evermore, pray with- 
out ceasing, and in every thing give thanks.' But it is 
not impossible for these to draw back. They who are 
sanctified may yet fall and perish. Heb. x. 29. Even 
fathers in Christ need that warning, ' Love not the world.' 
1 John ii. 15. They who ' rejoice, pray, and give thanks 
without ceasing,' may, nevertheless, ' quench the Spirit.' 
1 Thess. V. 16, &c. Nay, even they who are ' sealed unto 
the day of redemption,' may yet ' grieve the Holy Spirit 
of God.' Eph. iv. 30." * 

• We do not hereby deny, that some believers have a testimony in 
their own breast, that they shall not finally fall from God. " They may 
have it," says Mr. Wesley in the same tract, " and this persuasion, 
that neither life nor death shall separate them from God, far from 
being hurtful, may, in some circumstances, be extremely useful." But 
wherever this testimony is divine, it is attended with that grace which 
inseparably connects holiness and good works, the means, with perse- 
verance and eternal salvation, the end ; and, in this respect, our doc- 
trine widely differs from that of the Calvinists, who break the necessary 
connexion between holiness and infallible salvation, by making room for 
the foulest falls, — for adultery, murder, and incest. 



TO AXTINOMIANISM. 209 

The doctrine of the absolute perseverance of the saints 
is the first card which the devil played against man : 
" ' Ye shall not surely die,' if ye break the law of your 
perfection." This fatal card won the game. Mankind 
and paradise were lost. The artful serpent had too well 
succeeded at his first game, to forget that lucky card at his 
second. See him " transforming himself into an angel of 
hght" on the pinnacle of the temple. There he plays 
over again his old game against the Son of God. Out of 
the bible he pulls the very card which won our first 
parents, and swept the stake— paradise ; yea, swept it 
Avith the besom of destruction. "Cast thyself down," 
says he ; " for it is written," that all things shall work to- 
gether for thy good, thy very falls not excepted : " He 
shall give his angels charge concerning thee, and in their 
hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash 
thy foot against a stone." The tempter, thanks be to 
Christ, lost the game at that time ; but he did not lose his 
card ; and it is probable that he will play it round against 
you all, only with some variation. Let me mention one 
among a thousand. He promised our Lord that God's 
■dwj^iAs, should bear him up in their hands, if he threw 
himself down ; and it is not unlikely that he will promise 
you greater things still. Nor should I wonder if he was 
bold enough to hint, that, when you cast yourselves down, 
God himself shall bear you up in his hands, yea, in 
his arms of everlasting love. ye men of God, learn 
wisdom by the fall of Adam. O ye anointed sons of the 
3Iost Hi^fli, learn watchfulness by the conduct of Christ. 
If \w w.is afraid to " tempt the Lord his God," will ye 
dare to do it ? If he rejected as poison, the hook of the 
absolute perseverance of the saints, though it was baited 
with scripture, will ye swallow it down, as if it were "honey 
out of the rock of ages ? " No : " through faith in Christ 
the scriptures have made you wise unto salvation ; " you 
will not only fly with all speed from evil, but from the 
very appearance of evil. And when you stand on the 
brink of a temptation, far from entering into it, under 
any pretence whatever, ye will leap back into the bosom 
of Ilim who says, " Watch and pray, lest ye enter into 



210 LAST CHECK 

temptation; far" though "the spirit is willing, the 
fleshy is weak." I grant that, evangelically speaking, the 
weakness of the flesh is not sin ; but yet the " deceit- 
fulness of sin " creeps in at this door ; and by this means 
not a few of God's children, •-' after they had escaped the 
pollutions of the world, through the " sanctifying " know- 
ledge of Christ," under plausible pretences, " have been 
again entangled therein and overcome." Let their falls 
make you cautious. Ye have put on the whole armour 
of God : O keep it on, and use it " with all prayer," 
that ye may, to the last, "stand complete in Christ," 
and be " more than conquerors " through him that has 
loved you. 

II. Remember that " every one who is perfect shall be 
as his Master." Now if your Master was tempted and 
assaulted to the last; if to the last he watched and 
prayed, using all the means of grace himself, and enforcing 
the use of them upon others; if to the last he fought 
against the world, the flesh, and the devil, and did not 
" put off the harness " till he had put off the body ; think 
not yourselves above him, but " go and do likewise." If 
he did not regain paradise, without going through the most 
complete renunciation of all the good things of this world, 
and without meekly submitting to the severe stroke of his 
last enemy, death; be content to be "perfect as he 
was ;" nor fancy that your flesh and blood can inherit the 
celestial kingdom of God, when the flesh and blood which 
Emmanuel himself assumed from a pure virgin could not 
inherit it without passing under the cherub's flaming sword ; 
I mean, without going through the gates of death. 

III. Ye are not complete in wisdom. Perfect love 
does not imply perfect knowledge ; but perfect humility, 
and perfect readiness to receive instruction. Remember 
therefore, that if ever ye show that ye are above being 
instructed, even by a fisherman who teaches according 
to the divine anointing, ye will show that ye are fallen 
from a perfection of humility into a perfection of pride. 

IV Do not confound angelical with Christian perfect 
tion. Uninterrupted transports of praise, and ceaseless 
raptures of joy, do not belong to Christian, but to an- 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 211 

celical perfection. Our feeble frame can bear but a few drops 
of that glorious cup. In general, that " new wine " is too 
strong for our " old bottles ; " that power is too excellent 
for our earthen cracked vessels; but, weak as they 
are, they can bear a fulness of meekness, of resignation^ 
of humility, and of that lov« which is willing to obey 
unto death. If God indulges you with ecstasies and 
extraordinary revelations, be thankful for them, but be 
"not exalted above measure by them;" take care lest 
enthusiastic delusions mix themselves with them; and 
remember, that your Christian perfection does not so 
much consist in "building a tabernacle" upon mount 
Tabor, to rest and enjoy rare sights there, as in resolutely 
taking up the cross, and following Christ to the palace of 
a proud Caiaphas, to the judgment-hall of an unjust 
Pilate, and to the top of an ignominious Calvary. Ye 
never read in your bibles, " Let that glory be upon you, 
V'hich was also upon St. Stephen, when ' he looked up 
steadfastly into heaven, and said. Behold, I see the heavens 
opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand 
of God.' " But ye have frequently read there, " Let this 
mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who 
made himself of no reputation, took upon him the form 
of a servant, and being found in fashion as a man, 
humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even 
the death of the cross." 

Soe him on that ignominious gibbet : he hangs, aban- 
doned by his friends, surrounded by his foes, condemned 
by the rich, insulted by the poor. He hangs, a worm, 
aiid no man ! a very scorn of men, and the outcast of the 
people ! " AH they that see him laugh him to scorn. 
They shoot out their lips, and shake their heads, saying. 
He trusted in God that he would deliver him ; let 
him deliver him, if he will have him." *' There is none 
to help him." One of his apostles denies, another 
sells him, and the rest run away. "Many oxen 
;ire come about him ; fat bulls of Bashan close him 
on every side ; they gape upon him with their mouths, as 
It were a ramping lion. He is poured out like water, his 
heart in the midst of his body is like melting wax ; his 



212 LAST CHECK 

strength is dried up like a potsherd ; his tongue cleaveth 
to his gums ; he is going into the dust of death. Many 
dogs are come about him, and the counsel of the wicked 
layeth siege against him. His hands and feet are pierced. 
You may tell all his bones. They stand staring and look- 
ing upon him. They part his garments among them, 
and cast lots" for the only remain of his property, his plain, 
seamless vesture. Both suns, the visible and the in- 
visible, seem eclipsed. No cheering beam of created 
light gilds his gloomy prospect. No smile of his heavenly 
Father supports his agonizing soul. No cordial, unless it 
be vinegar and gall, revives his sinking spirits. He has 
nothing left, except his God. But his God is enough 
for him. In his God he has all things. And though his 
soul is " seized with sorrow, even unto death," yet it 
hangs more firmly upon his God by a naked faith, than 
his lacerated body does on the cross by the clinched nails. 
The perfection of his love shines in all its Christian 
glory. He not only forgives his insulting foes and 
bloody persecutors, but in the highest point of his passion 
he forgets his own wants, and thirsts after their eternal 
happiness. Together with his blood, he pours out his soul 
for them ; and excusing them all, he says, " Father, forgive 
them, for they know not what they do." O ye adult 
sons of God, " in " this " glass behold all with open face 
the glory " of your Redeemer's forgiving, praying love ; 
and, as ye behold it, " be changed into the same image 
from glory to glory, by the loving Spirit of the Lord." 

V- This lesson is deep ; but he may teach you one 
deeper still : by a strong sympathy with Him in all his 
sufferings, he may call you to know him every M'ay cruci- 
fied. Stern justice thunders from heaven, "Awake, O 
sword, against the man who is my fellow ! " The sword 
awakes, the sword goes though his soul, the flaming 
sword is quenched in his blood. But is one sinew of his 
perfect faith cut, one fibre of his perfect resignation 
injured, by the astonishing blow ? No : his God slays 
him, and yet he trusts in his God. By the noblest of all 
ventures, in the most dreadful of all storms, he meekly 
bows his head, and shelters his departing soul in the 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 



213 



bosom of his God : " My God ! my God ! " says he, 
" thouf'h all thy comforts have forsaken me, and all thy 
st.)rms°and waves go over me, yet into thy hands I com- 
mend my spirit." " For thou wilt not leave my soul in 
hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy One to see corrup- 
tion. Thou wilt show me the path of life : in thy pre- 
sence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand," where I 
shall soon sit, " there are pleasures for evermore." What 
a pattern of perfect confidence ! ye perfect Christians, 
be ambitious to ascend to those amazing heights of 
Christ's perfection: "for even hereunto were ye called, 
because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, 
that ye should follow his steps ; who knew no sin ; who, 
when he was reviled, reviled not again ; when he suffered, 
he threatened not, but committed himself to him that 
judgeth righteously." If this is your high calling on 
earth, rest not, ye fathers in Christ, till your patient 
hope and perfect confidence in God have got their last 
victory over your last enemy, — the king of terrors. 

" The ground of a thousand mistakes," says Mr. Wes- 
ley, '• is, the not considering deeply, that love is the high- 
est gift of God, humble, gentle, patient love ; that all 
visions, revelations, manifestations whatever, are little 
things compared to love. It were well you should be 
throughly sensible of this : the heaven of heavens is love. 
There is nothing higher in religion : there is, in effect, 
nothing else. If you look for any thing but more love, 
you are looking wide of the mark, you are getting out of 
the royal way. And when you are asking others, ' Have 
you received this or that blessing ? ' if you mean any 
thing but more love, you mean wrong ; you are leading 
them out of the way, and putting them upon a false scent. 
Sittle it, then, in your heart, that, from the moment God 
has saved you from all sin, you are to aim at nothing but 
more of that love described in 1 Cor. xiii. You can go no 
higher than this, till you are carried into Abraham's 
bosom." 

VI. Love is humble : " Be therefore clothed with 
humility," says j\Ir. Wesley ; " let it not only fill but 
cover you all over. Let modesty and self-diffidence 



214 LAST CHECK 

appear in all your words and actions. Let all you speak 
and. do show that you are little, and base, and mean, and 
vile in your own eyes. As one instance of this, be always 
ready to own any fault you hare been in : if you have 
at any time thought, spoke, or acted wrong, be not back- 
ward to acknowledge it ; never dream that this will hurt 
the cause of God : no ; it will further it. Be therefore 
open and frank, when you are taxed with any thing : let 
it appear just as it is ; and you will thereby not hinder, 
but adorn, the gospel," "Why should ye be more back- 
ward in acknowledging your failings, than in confessing 
that ye do not pretend to infallibility ? St. Paul was per- 
fect in the love which casts out fear, and therefore he 
boldly reproved the high priest. But when he had 
reproved him more sharply than the fifth commandment 
allows, he directly confessed his mistake, and set his seal 
to the importance of the duty in which he had been inad- 
vertently wanting: "Then Paul said, I knew not, 
brethren, that he was the high priest : for it is written, 
Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people." St. 
John was perfect in the courteous, humble love which 
brings us down at the feet of all. His courtesy, his humi- 
lity, and the dazzling glory which beamed forth from a 
divine messenger, whom he apprehended to be more than 
a creature, betrayed him into a fault contrary to that of 
St. Paul ; but, far from concealing it, he openly confessed 
it, and published his confession for the edification of aU 
the churches. " When I had heard and seen," says he, 
" I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who 
showed me these things. Then saith he unto me. See 
thou do it not ; for I am thy fellow-servant." Christian 
perfection shines as much in the child-like simplicity 
with which the perfect readily acknowledge their faults, 
as it does in the manly steadiness with which they " resist 
unto blood, striving against sin." 

VII. If humble love makes us frankly confess our 
faults, much more does it incline us to own ourselves sin- 
ners, miserable sinners before that God whom we have so 
frequently oflFended. I need not remind you, that your 
" bodies are dead because of sin ;" you see, you feel it : 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 215 

aiid therefore, so long as you dwell in a prison of flesh 
and blood, which death, the revenger of sin, is to pull 
clown ; so long as your final justification, as pardoned and 
sanctified sinners, has not taken place ; yea, so long as 
vou break the law of paradisiacal perfection, under which 
you were originally placed ; it is meet, right, and your 
bounden duty to consider yourselves as sinners, who, as 
transgressors of the law of innocence, and the law of 
liberty, are guilty of death, of eternal death. St. Paul did 
so, after he was '"come to mount Sion, and to the spirits of 
just men made perfect;" he still looked upon himself as 
the •• chief of sinners," because he had been a daring blas- 
phemer of Christ, and a fierce persecutor of his people : 
'■ Christ," says he, " came to save sinners, of whom I am 
chief." The reason is plain. IMatter of fact is and 
will be matter of fact to all eternity. According to the 
doctrines of grace and justice, and before the throne of 
God's mercy and holiness, a sinner pardoned and sancti- 
fied must, in the very nature of things, be considered as a 
sinner ; for if you consider him as a saint, absolutely 
abstracted from the character of a sinner, how can he be a 
pardoned and sanctified sinner ? To all eternity, there- 
fore, but much more while ''death, the wages of sin," is at 
your heels, and while ye are going to " appear before the 
judgment-seat of Christ," to receive your final sentence of 
absolution or condemnation, it will become you to say 
witii ^t. Paul, " We have all sinned, and come short of the 
glory of God ; being justified freely," as sinners, " by his 
grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ ; " — 
although we are justified judicially ; as believers, through 
faith ; as obedient believers, through the obedience of 
faith ; and as perfect Christians, through Christian per- 
fection. 

VIII. Humble love "becomes all things," but sin, "to 
all men," although it delights most in those who are most 
holy. Ye may and ought to set your love of peculiar 
complacence upon God's dearest children, upon those 
who, like yourselves, excel in virtue ; because they more 
strongly reflect the image of the God of love, the holy 
One of Israel. But if ye despise the weak, and are above 



216 



LAST CHECK 



lending them a helping hand, ye are fallen from Christian 
pei;fection, which teaches us to " bear one another's bur- 
dens," especially the burdens of the weak. Imitate, then, 
the tenderness and wisdom of the good Shepherd, who 
" carries the lambs in his bosom, gently leads the sheep 
which are big with young," feeds with milk those who can- 
not bear strong meat, and says to his imperfect disciples, 
'■ I hare many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear 
them now." 

IX. " "Where the loving Spirit of the Lord is, there is 
liberty;" keep therefore at the utmost distance from the 
shackles of a narrow, prejudiced, bigoted spirit. The mo- 
ment ye confine your love to the people who think just as 
you do, and your regard to the preachers who exactly suit 
your taste, you fall from perfection, and turn bigots. " I 
entreat you," says, Mr. Wesley, in his Plain Account, 
" beware of bigotry. Let not your love or beneficence be 
confined to Methodists (so called) only ; much less to that 
very small part of them who seem to be renewed in love, 
or to those who believe yours and their report. O make 
not this your ' shibboleth.' " On the contrary, as ye have 
time and ability, " do good to all men." Let your bene- 
volence shine upon all ; let your charity send its cherish- 
ing beams towards all, in proper degrees ; so shall ye be 
"perfect as your heavenly Father," who "makes his sun to 
shine upon all," although he sends the brightest and 
warmest beams of his favour upon the household of faith, 
and reserves his richest bounties for those who lay out 
their five talents to the best advantage. 

X. Love, pure love, is satisfied with the supreme Good, 
— with God. " Beware, then, of desiring any thing but 
him. Now you desire nothing else : every other desire 
is driven out ; see that none enter in again. Keep thy- 
self pure : let ' your eye remain single, and your whole 
body shall be full of light.' Admit no desire of pleasing 
food, or any other pleasure of sense ; no desire of pleasing 
the eye, or the imagination; no desire of money, of praise, 
or esteem ; of happiness in any creature. You may bring 
these desires back, but you need not : you may feel them 
no more. O ' stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ 



TO ANTINOMIAXISM. 217 

hath made you free.' Be patterns to all of denying your- 
selves, and taking up your cross daily. Let them see that 
vou make no account of any pleasure which does not 
bring you nearer to God, nor regard any pain which does ; 
that you simply aim at pleasing him, ■\^ hether by doing or 
suffering ; that the constant language of your heart, with 
regard to pleasure or pain, honour or dishonour, riches or 
poverty, is, 

' All s alike to me, so I 
In my Lord may live and die.' " 

XI. The best soldiers are sent upon the most difficult 
and dangerous expeditions ; and as you are the best sol- 
diers of Jesus Christ, ye will probably be called to drink 
deepest of his cup, and to carry the heaviest burdens. 
" Expect contradiction and opposition," says the judicious 
divine whom I have just quoted, •■• together with crosses 
of various kinds. Consider the words of St. Paul : ' To 
you it is given in the behalf of Christ, for his sake, as a 
fruit of his death and intercession for you, ' not only to 
believe, but also to suffer for his sake.' Philip, i. 29. ' It 
is given ' — (rod gives you this opposition or reproach ; it 
is a fresh token of his love. And will you disown the 
giver J' or spurn his gift, and count it a misfortune ? AVill 
you not rather say, ' Father, the hour is come, that thou 
shouldcst be glorified. Now thou givest thy child to suffer 
something for thee. Do with me according to thy will.' 
Know tliat these things, far from being hinderances to the 
work of God, or to your soul, unless l)y your own fault, 
are not only unavoidable in the course of providence, but 
prolitablf, yea, necessary, for you ; therefore, receive them 
from (lod, not from chance, with willingness, with thank- 
fulness ; receive them from men with humility, meekness, 
yieldingness, gentleness, sweetness." 

Love can never do nor suffer too much for its divine 
object. ]\v then ambitious, like St. Paul, to be made per- 
fect in sufferings. I have already observed, that the apos- 
tle, not satisfied to be a perfect Christian, would also be a 
perfect martyr, earnestly desiring to "know the fellowship 
of Christ's " utmost " sufferings." Follow him, as he fol- 
lowdd his suffering, crucified Lord. " Your feet are shod 

Vol. v. L 



218 LAST CHECK 

with the preparation of the gospel of peace : " run after 
therj both in the race of obedience, for the crown of mar- 
tyrdom, if that crown is reserved for you. And if ye miss 
the crown of those who are martyrs in deed, ye shall, 
however, receive the reward of those who are martyrs 
in intention, — the crown of righteousness and angelical 
perfection. 

XII. But do not so desire to follow Christ to the garden 
of Gethsemane, as to refuse foUoAving him now to the car- 
penter's shop, if Providence now calls you to it. Do not 
lose the present day by idly looking back at yesterday, or 
foolishly ante-dating the cares of to-morrow : but wisely 
use every hour, spending them as one who stands on the 
verge of time, on the border of eternity, and who has his 
work cut out by a wise Providence from moment to mo- 
ment. Never, therefore, neglect using the two talents you 
have now, and doing the duty which is now incumbent 
upon you. Should ye be tempted to it, under the plausi- 
ble pretence of waiting for a greater number of talents, 
remember that God doubles our talents in the way of 
duty, and that it is a maxim advanced by Elisha Coles 
himself, " Use grace, and have " more " grace." Therefore, 
" to continual watchfulness and prayer, add continual em- 
ployment," says Mr. Wesley ; "for grace flies a vacuum, as 
well as nature ; the devil fills whatever God does not fill." 
" As ' by works faith is made perfect,' so the completing 
or destrojdng the work of faith, and enjopng the favour or 
suffering the displeasure of God, greatly depends on every 
single act of obedience." If you forget this, you will 
hardly do now whatsoever your hand findeth to do. 
Much less will you do it with all your might for God, for 
eternity. 

XIII. Love is modest ; it rather inclines to bashfulness 
and silence, than to talkative forwardness. " In a multi- 
tude of words there wanteth not sin :" "be," therefore, 
" slow to speak ; " " nor cast your pearls before " those 
who cannot distinguish them from pebbles. Nevertheless, 
when you are solemnly called upon to bear testimony to 
the truth, and to say what great things God has done for 
you, it would be cowardice, or false prudence, not to do it 



TO ANTINOMIAM>M. 219 

with humility. " T.c" then, ^- always ready to give an an- 
swer to (.'veiv man who " properly '' asketh you a reason 
of the hope that is in you, with meekness," without flut- 
t( riiiL: anxiety, '' and with iVar," Avitli a reverential awe 
of ( iod upon vour minds. 1 Peter iii. 1.3. The perfect 
are "burning and shining lights;" and our Lord inti- 
mates, that, as '' a candle is not lighted to be put under a 
bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may give light to 
all the house ; " so God does not light the candle of per- 
fect love to hide it in a corner, but to give light to all 
those who are Avithin the reach of its brightness. If 
diamonils glitter, if stars shine, if flowers display their 
colours, and perfumes diffuse their fragrance, to the honour 
of the Father of lights, and Author of every good gift, if, 
without self-seeking, they disclose his glory to the utmost 
of their power, -svhy should ye not "go and do likewise?" 
Gold answers its most valuable end, when it is brought to 
light, and made to circulate for charitable and pious uses ; 
and not when it lies concealed in a miser's strong box, or 
in the dark bosom of a mine. But when you lay out 
your spiritual gold for proper uses, beware of imitating 
the v:initv of those coxcunilis who, as often as thev are 
about ti) pay for a trifle, pull out a handful of gold, merely 
to make a show of their wealth. 

XI \' J.ovc, or "charity, rcjoiccth in the" dis})lay of 
an edifying '" truth. 1 act is fact all the world over. 
If you can say to the glory of (iod, that you are alive, 
and leel very \veli, Avlien you do so, why could you not 
also testify to his liiuiour, that you live not, but that 
Christ liveth in you, if you really tiud that this is your 
expericjiee !* Did not St. John say, " ( )uv love is made 
perteet, because, as he is, so are \\ e in this world V Did 
not St. I'aul write, "The righteousness of t!ie law is 
fuUilled in us, who walk after the Spirit?" Did he not 
with the same simplicity aver, that, although he "had 
nothing," and was " sorrowful," yet he " possessed all 
things," and was "always rejoicing f 

Hence it appears, that, with respect to the declaring or 
concealing what (iod has done for your soul, the line of 
your duty runs exactly between the proud forwardness of 

L 2 



220 LAST CHECK 

some stiff pharisees, and the voluntary humility of some 
stiff mystics. The former vainly boast of more than they 
experience ; and by that means they set up the cursed idol, 
self: the latter ungratefully hide the wonderful works of 
God, which the primitive Christians spoke of publicly in, a 
variety of languages ; and by this means they refuse to 
exalt their gracious benefactor, Christ. The first error is 
undoubtedly more odious than the second ; but what need 
is there of leaning to either ? AYould ye avoid them both ? 
Let your tempers and lives always declare, that perfect 
love is attainable in this life; and when you have a 
proper call to declare it with your lips and pens, do it 
without forwardness to the glory of God ; do it with 
simplicity, for the edification of your neighbour; do it 
with godly jealousy, lest ye should show the treasures of 
divine grace in yom* hearts, with the same self-complacence 
with which king Hezekiah showed his treasures, and the 
golden vessels of the temple, to the ambassadors of the 
king of Babylon, remembering what a dreadful curse this 
piece of vanity pulled down upon him : " And Isaiah said 
unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord : Behold, the 
days come, that all that is in thine house shall be carried 
into Babylon ; nothing shall be left, saith the Lord." If 
God so severely punished Hezekiah's pride, how properly 
does St. Peter charge believers to give with fear an 
account of the grace which is in them ! and how careful 
should ye be to observe this important charge ! 

XV If you will keep at the utmost distance from the 
vanity which proved so fatal to good king Hezekiah, 
follow an excellent direction of Mr. Wesley. "When you 
have done anything for God, or "received any favour from 
him, retire, if not into your closet, into your heart, and 
say, 'I come, Lord, to restore to thee what thou hast 
given, and I freely relinquish it, to enter again into my own 
nothingness. For what is the most perfect creature in hea- 
ven or earth in thy presence, but a void, capable of being 
filled with thee and by thee, as the air which is void and 
dark, is capable of being filled with the light of the sun ? 
Grant therefore, O Lord, that I may never appropriate thy 
grace to myself, any more than the air appropriates to. 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 221 

itself the light of the sun, who withdraws it every day to 
restore it the next ; there heing nothing in the air that 
either appropriates his light or resists it. O give me the 
same facility of receiving and restoring thy grace and good 
works ! I say, thine ; for I acknowledge that the root 
from which they spring is in thee, and not in me.' The 
true means to be filled anew with the riches of grace, is 
thus to strip ourselves of it : without this it is extremely 
difficult not to faint in the practice of good works." 
" And therefore, that your good works may receive their 
last perfection, let them lose themselves in God. This is 
a kind of death to them, resembling that of our bodies, 
which will not attain their highest life, their immortality, 
tni they lose themselves in the glory of our souls, or rather 
of God, wherewith they shall be filled. And it is only 
what they had of earthly and mortal which good works 
lose ])y this spiritual death." 

XVI. "Would ye see this deep precept put in practice ? 
Consider Sr. Paul. Already possessed of Christian per- 
fection, he does good works from morning till night. He 
'■ wiu-ns every one night and day with tears." lie caiTics 
the gospel from east to west. Wherever he stops, he 
plants a church at the hazard of his life. But instead of 
resting in his present perfection, and in the good works 
which sprinu: fi'om it, " he grows in grace, and in the 
knowledge of our I>onl Jesus Christ ;" unweariedly " fol- 
lowiiiLi: after, if that ho may apprehend tliat" perfection 
'• f »r which also he is apprehended of Christ Jesus,' that 
celestial jierfection of which he got lively ideas when 
he was " caught up to the third heaven, and heard un- 
speakable ^V()r(ls. which it is not hiw ful for a man to utter." 
"With what amazing ardour does he run his race of 
Christian perfection for the prize of that higher perfection ! 
llow (lites he forget the works of yesterday, when he lays 
himself out for God to-day! ''Though dead, he vet 
speaketh;" nor can an address to perfect Christians be 
clnsed by a more proper speech than his. "Brethren," 
says he, "be followers of me." "1 count not myself to 
have apprehended my angelical perfection; "but this 
one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind," 



222 LAST CHECK 

settling in none of my former experiences, resting in none 
of my gopd works, " and reaching forth unto those things 
which are before, I press towards the mark, for the " 
celestial " prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 
Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded ; 
and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall 
reveal even this unto you." In the meantime you may 
sing the following hymn of the Rev. Mr. Charles Wesley, 
which is descriptive of the destruction of corrupt self-will, 
and expressive of the absolute resignation which character- 
izes a perfect believer : — 

" To do, or not to do ; to have, 

Or not to have, I leave to Thee ; 
To be, or not to be I leave : 

Thy only will be done in me. 
All my requests are lost in one : 
Father, thy only will be done. 

" Suffice that, for the season past, 

Myself in things divine I sought, 
For comforts cried with eager haste, 

And murmur'd that I found them not. 
I leave it now to thee alone : 
Father, thy only will be done. 

" Thy gifts I clamour for no more, 

Or selfishly thy grace require, 
An evil heart to varnish o'er ; 

Jesus, the Giver, I desire ; 
After the flesh no longer known : 
Father, thy only will be done. 

" Welcome alike the crown or cross ; 

Trouble I cannot ask, nor peace, 
Nor toil, nor rest, nor gain, nor loss. 

Nor joy, nor grief, nor pain, nor ease, 
Nor life, nor death ; but ever groan, 
Father, thy only will be done." 

This hymn suits all the believers who are at the bottom 
of mount Sion, and begin to join the spirits of just men 
made perfect. But when the triumphal chariot of perfect 
love gloriously carries you to the top of perfection's hill ; 
when you are raised far above the common heights of the 
perfect; when you are almost translated intoglory like Elijah, 
then you may sing another hymn of the same Christian 
poet, with the Rev. Mr. Madan, and the numerous body 
of imperfectionists who use his collection of Psalms, &c. 



TO ANTINOMIANISM. 223 

" Who in Jesus confide, 

Tliey are bold to outride 
The storms of aflfticdon beneath : 

A\'ith the prophet they soar 

To that heavenly shore, 
And outfly all the arrows of death. 

" By faith we are come 

To our permanent home ; 
By hope we the rapture improve : 

By love we still rise, 

And look down on the skies ; 
For the heaven of heavens is love ! 

" Who on earth can conceive 

How happy we live 
In the city of God the great King ! 

What a concert of praise, 

When our Jesus's grace 
The whole heavenly company sing ! 

*' 'What a rapturous song, 

W'hen the glorified throng 
In the spirit of harmony join ! 

Join all the glad choirs, 

Hearts, voices, and lyres, 
And the burden is mercy diviae ! ' " 

But when you cannot follow Mr. Madan, and the im- 
porfectionists of the Lotk chapel, to those rapturous heights 
of perfection, you need not give up your shield. You 
may still rank among the perfect, if you can heartily join 
in this version of Psalm cxxxi. : — 

" Lord, thou dost the grace impart. 
Poor in spirit, meek in heart, 
1 will as my Master be, 
Rooted in humilit)'. 

" Now, dear Lord, that thee I know, 
Ndtliing will I seek below. 
Aim at nothing preat or high, 
Lowly both in heart and eye. 

" Simple, teachable, and mild, 
Awed into a little child, 
t^uiet now without my food, 
^\'ean'd from every creature good, 

" Hangs my new-bom soul on thee. 
Kept from all idolatry ; 
Nothing wants beneath, above. 
Resting in thy perfect love." 

That your earthen vessels may be filled Avith this love 
till they break, and you enjoy the divine object of your 



224 LAST CHECK TO ANTINOMIANISM. 

faith >vithout an interposing veil of gross flesh and blood, 
is the wieh of one who sincerely praises God on your 
account, and ardently prays, — 

** Make up thy jewels, Lord, and show 
The glorious, spotless church helow ; 
The fellowship of seiints make known ; 
And O, my God, might I he one ! 

" O might my lot he cast with these, 
The least of Jesu's witnesses ! 
O that my Lord would count me meet 
To wash his dear disciples' feet ! 

*' To wait upon his saints helow, 
On gospel errands for them go ; 
Enjoy the grace to angels given ; 
And serve the royal heirs of heaven." 



THE 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL : 



THE TRUE MODEL 



FOR 



CHRISTIANS AND PASTORS. 

TRANSLATED FROM A FRENCH MANUSCRIPT 

OF THE LATE 

REV. JOHN WILLIAM DE LA FLECHERE, 

VICAR OF M.\l)i:i,Ey. 

BY THE REV JOSIILA C;iLPIN, 

VltAR i^F 1<<M K\\ARD1NM:, in the < OUNTY of SALOl'. 



" Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." 

1 Cor. xi. !• 



L J 



TO 

JA3IES IRELAND, ESQ., 

OF BRISLINGTON, NEAR BRISTOL, 
THE FOLLOWING WORK 

^^ rtspcctfuUw atltfrt^^ctJ, 

AS A MONUMENT 

OF THE LONG AND INTIMATE FRIENDSHIP 

WHICH SUBSISTED BETWEEN HIM AND THE AUTHOR, 

AND AS A PUBLIC ACKNOWLEDGMENT 

OF THE VERY LIBERAL ASSISTANCE AND SUPPORT 

WITH WHICH HE HAS FAVOURED 

HIS TRULY OBLIGED 

AND OBEDIENT SERVANT, 

THE TRANSLATOR. 



INTRODUCTION. 



The following work was begun, and nearly completed, 
in the course of M. de la Flechere's last residence at 
Nyon, where it formed a valuable part of his private 
labours during a long and painful confinement from pub- 
lic duty. On his return to England, he suffered the 
manuscript to lie by him in a very loose and disordered 
state, intending, at his leisure, to translate and prepare 
it for the press. In the mean time he entered upon 
the arduous task of revising and enlarging a French 
poem which he had lately published at Geneva, under 
the title of La Louange, and which was reprinted at 
London in the year 1785, under the title of La Grace 
et la Nature. The second appearance of this poem was 
speedily followed by the dissolution of the author. Soon 
after this melancholy event had taken place, Mrs. de la 
Flechere, in looking over the papers of the deceased, 
discovered the first part of the Portrait of St. Paul, 
with the perusal of which she favoured the translator, 
who, finding it a work of no common importance, was 
readily induced to render it into English. From time 
to time different parts of the work were discovered, and 
though the manuscript was so incorrect and confused, as 
frequently to stagger the resolution of the translator, yet 
a strong persuasion that the work was calculated to pro- 
duce the most desirable effects, encouraged him to per- 
severe till he had completed his undertaking. 

It is scarcely necessary to inform the intelligent reader, 
that the Portrait of St. Paul was originally intended for 
publication in the author's native country, to which its 
arguments and quotations apply with peculiar propriety. 



INTRODUCTION. 229 

It may be more necessary to observe, that, had the life of 
]\I. de la Flechere been prolonged, the traits of St. Paul's 
moral character would have been rendered abundantly 
more copious and complete. 

The translator cannot suffer a second edition of these 
volumes to make its appearance in the world without 
thankfully acknowledging the candid reception with which 
the first edition has been favoured, and expressing his 
hearty desire that the work may conduce, in some degree, 
to the establishment of that pure and undefiled religion 
which it was evidently intended to promote. 

ROCKWARDINE, 

March Uth, 1791. 



THE 



AUTHOR'S PREFACE. 



Many celebrated writers have offered excellent treatises 
to the public, some on the character of a true Christian, 
and others on the duties of a good pastor. It were to be 
wished, that these two objects might be so closely united, 
as to fall under the same point of view ; and to effect such 
an union is the design of this work, in which may be seen, 
at one view, what were the primitive Christians, and the 
apostolic pastors ; and what they are required to be, who 
are called to follow them in the progress of piety. 

As example Is more powerful than precept, it was 
necessary that some person should be singled out, who 
was both an excellent Christian, and an eminent minister 
of Jesus Christ. The person we fix upon is St. Paul, 
in whom these two characters were remarkably united, 
and a sketch of whose wondrous portrait we endeavour to 
exhibit in the following pages. When this apostle is 
considered as a Christian, his diligence In filling up the 
duties of his vocation, his patience in times of trial, his 
courage in the midst of dangers, his perseverance in 
well-doing, his faith, his humility, his charity, all sweetly 
blended together, constitute him an admirable model for 
every Christian. And when we regard him as a dis- 
penser of the mysteries of God, his inviolable attachment 
to truth, and his unconquerable zeal, equally distant from 
fanaticism and indifference, deserve the imitation of every 
minister of the gospel. 

The holy scriptures fiirnish materials in abundance for 
the present work ; the Acts of the Apostles, from chapter 
viii., containing little else than a narration of the labours 
of St. Paul, and an abridgment of his sermons and apo- 
logies. The new testament, besides the Acts, contains 
twenty-two different books, fourteen of which were 
composed by this apostle himself, with all the frank- 



PREFACE. 



231 



ness suited to the epistolary style, and all the personal 
detail into which he was obliged to enter when writing, 
in an uncommon variety of circumstances, to his friends, 
his brethren, and his spiritual children. It is on such 
occasions that a man is most likely to discover what he 
really is ; and it is on such occasions that the moral 
painter may take an author in the most interesting posi- 
tions, in order to delineate with accuracy his sentiments, 
his circumstances, and his conduct. 

Let it not be said, that, in proposing this apostle as a 
model to Christians, w^e do but cast discouragements in 
the way of those who are at an immense distance behind 
him, with respect both to grace and diligence. The 
masterly skill that Raphael and Rubens have discovered 
in their pieces serves not to discourage modern painters, 
who rather labour to form themselves by such grand 
models. Poets and orators are not disheartened by those 
chef-d'ceuvres of poetry and eloquence which Homer 
and Virgil, Demosthenes and Cicero, have transmitted 
to posterity : Avhy then should we be discouraged by eon- 
siderinsf the eminent virtues and unwearied labours of 
this great apostle ? The greater the excellence of the 
pattern proposed, the less likely is the laboui'ed copy to be 
incomplete. 

It is granted, that all the faithful are not called to be 
ministers, and that all ministers are not appointed, like 
St. Paul, to estal)lish new churches; but it is main- 
tained, that all Christians, in their different states, are 
to 1)0 filh'd with the piety of that apostle. If the most 
inconsiderable trader among us is not allowed to say, 
" I deal only in trifling articles, and therefore should be 
indulged Avith a false balance;" — if such a trader is re- 
(piiicd to be as just in his shop as a judge on his 
tribunal ; — and if the lowest volunteer in an army is 
called to show as much valour in his humble post as a 
general officer in his more exalted station; the same 
kind of reasoning may be applied to the Christian 
church ; so that her youngest communicant is not per- 
mitted to say, '' My youth, or the weakness of my sex, 
excuses me from exercising the charity, the humility, 



232 PREFACE. 

the diligence, and the zeal, which the scriptures pre- 
scribe." 

It should be laid down as an incontrovertible truth, 
that the same zeal which was manifested by St. Paul 
for the glory of God, and the same charity that he 
displayed as an apostle, in the very extensive scene of 
his labours, a minister is called to exercise as a pastor, 
in his parish, and a private person, as father of a famil}?-, 
in his own house. Nay, even every woman, in pro- 
portion to her capacity, and as the other duties of her 
station permit, should feel the same ardour to promote 
the salvation of her children and domestics, as St. Paul 
once discovered to promote that of the ancient Jews 
and gentiles. Observe in the harvest-field how it fares 
with the labourers, when they are threatened with an 
impetuous shower : all do not bind and bear the weighty 
sheaves ; every one is occupied according to their rank, 
their strength, their age, and their sex ; and all are in 
action, even to the little gleaners. The true church 
resembles this field. The faithful of every rank, age, 
and sex have but one heart and one mind. According 
to their state, and the degree of their faith, all are 
animated to labour in the cause of God, and all are 
endeavouring to save either communities, families, or 
individuals from the wrath to come, as the reapers and 
gleaners endeavour to secure the rich sheaves, and even 
the single ears of grain, from the gathering storm. 

If, in the course of this work, some truths are pro- 
posed which may appear new to the Christian reader, 
let him candidly appeal for the validity of them to the 
holy scriptures, and to the testimony of reason, supported 
by the most respectable authorities, such as the con- 
fessions of faith adopted by the purest churches, together 
with the works of the most celebrated pastors and pro- 
fessors, who have explained such confessions. 

Among other excellent ends proposed in publishing the 
following sheets, it is hoped, that they may bring back 
bigoted divines to evangelical moderation, and either 
reconcile, or bring near to one another, the orthodox 
professor, the imperfect Ghristian, and the sincere deist. 



THE 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL, 



TRAIT I. 

IN THE MORAL CHARACTER OF ST. PAUL- 
HIS EARLY PIETY. 

The great apostle of the gentiles bore no resemblance 
to those who reject the service of God till they are ren- 
dered incapable of gratifying their unruly passions. He 
■was mindful of his Creator from his early youth, and as 
an observer of religious rites, outstripped the most exact 
and rigid professors of his time ; so that the regularity of 
his conduct, the fervour of his devotion, and the vivacity 
of his zeal, attracted the attention of his superiors in every 
place. Observe the manner in "vvhich he himself speaks 
on this subject, before the tribunal of Festus : " My 
manner of life from my youth, which was at the first 
among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews, 
which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, 
that after the straitest sect of our religion I lived a pha- 
risce." Acts xxvi. 4, 5, Having occasion afterwards to 
mention the same circumstances in his epistle to the 
Galatians, he writes thus : " Ye have heard of my con- 
versation in time past, how I profited in the Jews religion 
above many my equals in mine own nation, being more 
exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers." Gal. 
i. 13, 14. And to what an extraordinary pitch of excel- 
lence his morality was carried may be inferred from 
the following short but solemn declaration which was 



234 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

made in the presence of persons who were very well com- 
petent tp have convicted him of falsehood, had there been 
found the least blemish in his outward conduct : " Men 
and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before 
God unto this day." Acts xxiii. 1. Such was the early 
piety of St. Paul ; and such was the righteousness in which 
he trusted, when, through zeal for the church and state, 
of which he was a member, he persecuted Christians as 
disturbers of the public peace. 

Having seen the beautiful side of this apostle's early 
character, let us now consider his defects. As a mem- 
ber of the Jewish church he was inspired with zeal; 
but that zeal was rigid and severe : as a member of 
society his manners were probably courteous ; but on some 
occasions his behaviour was tyrannical and inhuman. In 
a word, he possessed the whole of religion, except those 
essential parts of it, — humility and charity. Supercilious 
and impatient, he would bear no contradiction. Presum- 
ing upon his own sufficiency, he gave himself no time to 
compare his errors with truth ; and hence, covering his 
cruelty with the specious name of " zeal," he breathed 
out " threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of 
the Lord." Actsix. 1. He himself, speaking of this part of 
his character, makes the following humiliating confession : 
"I was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious." 
1 Tim. i. 13. "I verily thought with myself, that I 
ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of 
Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem : and 
many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received 
authority from the chief priests ; and when they were put 
to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished 
them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to 
blaspheme ; and being exceedingly mad against them, 
I persecuted them even unto strange cities." Acts xxvi. 
9—11. 

Nevertheless, this rigid pharisee, who carried his devo- 
tion to bigotry, and his zeal to fury, had an upright heart 
in the sight of God. " I obtained mercy," says he, after 
his conversion, " because I did it ignorantly in unbelief;" 
^ Tim. i. 13 ; imagining, that when I persecuted the dis- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 235 

clples of Jesus, I was opposing a torrent of the most 
dangerous errors. 

Piety is that knowledge of God and his various rela- 
tions to man, which leads us to adore, to love, and 
obey him in public and in private. This great virtue 
is the first trait in the moral character of St. Paul ; 
and it is absolutely necessary to the Christian character 
in general, since it is that parent of all virtues to which 
God has given the promise of the present life, and of that 
which is to come. But it is more particularly necessary 
to those who consecrate themselves to the holy ministry ; 
since, being obliged by their office to exhibit before their 
flock an example of piety, if they themselves are des- 
titute of godliness, they must necessarily act without any 
conformity to the sacred character they have dared to 
assume. 

If Quintilian the heathen has laid it down as a general 
principle, that it is impossible to become a good orator 
Avithout being a good man ; surely no one will deny, that 
piety should be considered as the first qualification essen- 
tial to a Christian speaker. M. Roques, in his Evangeli- 
cal Pastor, observes, that " the minister, by his situation, 
is a man rethed from the world, devoted to God, and 
called to evangelical holiness. lie is," continues he, 
'' according to iSt. Paul, ' a man of God,' that is, a person 
entirely consecrated to God ; a man of superior excellence, 
a man, in some sense, divine : and to answer, in any 
(li'^ncc, the import of this appellation, it is necessary that 
his piety should be illustrious, solid, and universal." 
Without doubt those sublime ideas of the holy ministry- 
wore collected by this pious author from the writings of St. 
Paul, who thus addresses Titus upon the same subject : " A 
minister must be blameless, as the steward of God ; not self- 
willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not 
given to filthy lucre ; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of 
g"()d men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the 
iaithful word, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both 

to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." Titus i. 7 9. 

I le must use " sound speech, that cannot be condemned ; 
in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity; 



236 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAIJL. 

that he -who Is of the contrary part may be ashamed, 
having n^) evil thing to say of him." Titus ii. 7? 8. 

A pastor without piety disgraces the holy profession 
which he has made choice of, most probably from the 
same temporal motives which influence others to embrace 
the study of the law, or the profession of arms. If those 
who were called to serve tables were to be " men of 
honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom," Acts 
vi. 3, it is evident, that the same dispositions and graces 
should be possessed in a more eminent degree by those 
who are called to minister in holy things. " "When thou 
art converted," said Christ to Peter, "strengthen thy 
brethren/' Luke xxii. 32. 

No sight can be more absurd than that of an impeni- 
tent infidel engaged in calling sinners to repentance and 
faith. Even the men of the world look down with con- 
tempt upon a minister of this description, whose conduct 
perpetually contradicts his discourses, and who, while he 
is pressing upon others the necessity of holiness, indulges 
himself in the pleasures of habitual sin. Such a preacher, 
far from being instrumental in effecting true conversions 
among his people, will generally lead his hearers into the 
same hypocrisy which distinguishes his own character; 
since that which was said in ancient times holds equally 
true in the present day, " Like people, like priest." Ilosea 
iv. 9. Lukewarm pastors make careless Christians ; and 
the worldly preacher leads his worldly hearers as necessa^ 
rily into carnal security, as a blind guide conducts the 
blind into the ditch. And to this unhappy source may 
be traced the degenerate manners of the present age, the 
reproach under which our holy religion labours, and the 
increasing triumphs of infidelity. 

" The natural man," saith St. Paul, " receiveth not the 
things of the Spirit of God ; for they are foolishness unto 
him ; neither can he know them, because they are spirit- 
ually discerned." 1 Cor. ii. 14. Now, if a minister who 
is destitute of scriptural piety, is counted unable to com- 
prehend the doctrines of the gospel, how much less is he 
able to publish and explain them ! And if those who 
live according to the vain customs of the world have not 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 237 

the righteousness of the pharisees, with what propriety 
can they be called, I will not say true ministers, but even 

pious deists ? 

Thouf^h every candidate for the sacred ministry may not 
be in circumstances to declare, with St. Paul, " I have 
lived in all good conscience before God unto this day," yet 
all who aspire to that important office should, at least, be 
able to say with sincerity, " Herein do I exercise myself, 
to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, 
and toward man." Acts xxiv. 16. Such were the morals 
and the conduct of a Socrates and an Epictetus ; and wor- 
shippers like these, " coming from the east and from the 
west," shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, " while the 
children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer dark- 
ness." Matt. viii. 11, 12. 



TRAIT II. 

niS CHRISTIAN PIETY. 

It has been made sufficiently plain, under the preceding 
article, that 8t. I'aul was possessed of a good degree of 
piety from his very infancy. Having been brought up in 
the fear of God by his fiither, who is supposed to have 
been a zealous pharisee, he ■\vas afterwards instructed at 
the feet of (Jamaliel, a pious doctor of the law, to whose 
wisdom and moderation St. Luke has borne an honourable 
testimony. Acts v. ']4. And so greatly had he profited in 
his youth l)y these inestimable privileges, that "touching 
the righteousness which is of the law" he was "blame, 
less." But this piety was not sufficient under the new 
testament. 

To become a Christian and a true minister of the 
gospel, it is necessary to have, not only the piety of a 
sincere deist, or of a devout Jew, as St. Paul had before 
liis CDU version, but also those higher degrees of piety, 
whieli that apostle possessed after he had received the two- 
fold gift of deep repentance toward God and living faith in 
Jesus Christ. The basis of piety among the Jews was a. 



238 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

knowledge of God, as Creator, Protector, and Rewarder ; 
but in order to have Christian piety, it is necessary, that to 
this knowledge of God, as Creator, &c., should be added 
that of God the Redeemer, God the Destroyer of all our 
evils, God our Saviour ; or, in other words, the knowledge 
of Jesus Christ. " This is life eternal, that they might 
know thee the only true God, and Jesus Chiist, whom 
thou hast sent." John xvii. 3. 

But who can truly know, I will not say his Saviour, but 
merely his need of a Saviour, without first becoming ac- 
quainted with his own heart, and receiving there a lively 
impression both of his sin and his danger ? A student in 
theology, who has not yet submitted himself to the maxim 
of Solon, " Know thyself;" and who has never mourned 
under that sense of our natural ignorance and depravity 
which forced Socrates to confess the want of a divine 
instructer ; a candidate, I say, who is wholly unacquainted 
with himself, instead of eagerly soliciting the imposition 
of hands, should rather seek after a true understanding of 
the censure which Christ once passed upon the pastor of 
the Laodicean church : " Thou art wretched, and miserable, 
and poor, and blind, and naked." Rev. iii. 17- 

If a young man steals into the ministry without this 
knowledge, far from being able to preach the gospel, he 
will not even comprehend that first evangelical principle, 
" Blessed are the poor in spirit ; for theirs is the kingdom 
of heaven." Matt. v. 3. And instead of devoutly offering 
up to God the prayers of a religious assembly, he will 
constantly begin the sacred of&ce by an act of hypo- 
crisy, in saying, " Almighty Father, we have erred and 
straved from thy ways like lost sheep. We have offended 
against thy holy laws. There is no health in us. But 
thoxi, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable sinners." 
After making these confessions in public, when he is 
interrogated in private respecting that misery and condem- 
nation, under a sense of Avhich he so lately appeared to 
groan, he will not scruple immediately to contradict what 
he has so plainly expressed; thus discovering to every 
impartial observer, that when he prays in public, he prays, 
either as a child, who understands not what he repeats ; or 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 239 

as a deceiver, who appears to believe what he really gives 
no credit to, and that merely for the sake of enjoying the 
pension of a minister, and his rank in society. 

"What is here said of ministers, is equally applicable to 
Christians in general. If any one dares to approach the 
sacramental table, there to make a profession of being 
redeemed from eternal death by the death of Christ, before 
he is deeply humbled under a sense of the condemnation 
due to his sin ; can such a one be said to perform an act 
of piety ? Is he not rather engaged in performing an act 
of vain ceremony and presumptuous dissimulation in the 
presence of God? The feigned humiliation of such a 
coromunicant would resemble that of a rebel subject, 
who, without any consciousness that his actions had 
merited death, should cast himself, from motives of 
interest, at the feet of his prince, and affect to rejoice 
under a sense of that undeserved clemency which per- 
mitted him to live. AU our professions of faith in Christ 
are tinctured, more or less, with hypocrisy, unless 
preceded by that painful conviction of past errors, 
whence alone can cordially flow those humiliating con- 
fessions with which Ave are accustomed to begin our sacred 
services. 

The true Christian, and, consequently, the true minister, 
is constrained to cry out, with St. Paul, when he discovered 
the purity of Jehovah's law and the greatness of his own 
guilt, '' The law is spiritual," and demands an obedience 
correspondent to its nature ; " but I am carnal, sold under 
sin. i'or what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, 
that I do. I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, 
dwi'lleth no good thing. wretched man that I am ! 
who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" 
Kom. vii. 1 1—24. 

In this manner the true penitent, weary and heavy 
laden, makes his approaches to the Saviour ; and while he 
continues to implore his grace and favour, an incompre- 
hensible change takes place in his soul. His groans are 
suddenly turned into songs of deliverance, and he is 
enabled to adopt the triumphant language of the great 
apostle : " I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord ; 



240 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath 
made me free from the law of sin and death. There 
is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in 
Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the 
Spirit." Rom. vii. 25 ; viii. 1, 2. 

Every true follower of Christ, therefore, and especially 
every true minister of the gospel, has really experienced 
the evil of siji, the inability of man to free himself from 
such evil, and the efficacy of that remedy which endued 
the first Christians with so extraordinary a degree of 
purity, power, and joy. And in testimony of the virtue 
of this sovereign remedy, every such follower has a right 
to declare with his happy predecessors, " We give thanks 
unto the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers 
of the inheritance of the saints in light ; who hath de- 
livered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated 
us into the kingdom of his dear Son ; in whom we have 
redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of 
sins." Col. i. 12—14. 

When a preacher is possessed of Christian piety, or, in 
other words, when he has made his peace with God, by 
that deep repentance which enables us to die unto sin, 
and by that living faith which unites us to Christ, he 
naturally invites the world to embrace a Saviour who has 
ivrought for him so wonderful a deliverance; and this 
invitation he enforces with all the power and warmth 
which must ever accompany deep sensibility. After 
having believed with the heart to the obtaining of righ- 
teousness, he is prepared to confess with his lips, and to 
testify of his salvation, crying out, as sincerely as Simeon, 
but in a sense far more complete, " Lord, now lettest thou 
thy servant depart in peace ; for, according to thy word, 
mine eyes have seen thy salvation." " Here," says Mr. 
Ostervald, "may be applied what was spoken by our 
blessed Lord : ' A good man, out of the good treasure of 
his heart, bringeth forth good things.' Erasmus speaks 
the same thing: Nihil poteniius ad excitandos bonos 
affectus, quam piorum affectuum fontem habere in pectore. 
Si vis me Jlere, dolendum est^ ^c. That is, following the 
idea of the author, ' You will never win others over to a 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PxVUL. C41 

rcllo-ious life, unless you yourself are first possessed of 
l»ietv. This inspires thoughts, dispositions, and words 
v\ hich nothing else can produce.' It is this that animates 
the voice, the gesture, and every action of the Christian 
preacher. When he is thus grounded in piety, it is diffi- 
cult to conceive with what facility and with what success 
he labours, still enjoying an unspeakable sweetness in 
hi"inself. Then it is, that he is truly sensible of his 
vocation ; then he speaks in the cause of God, and then 
only he is in a proper situation to affect others." 

It appeared so necessary to the fathers who composed 
the svnod of Berne, that every minister should be pos- 
sessed of solid piety, that they believed it impossible for a 
man to be a good catechist without it. After recommend- 
inff it to pastors to explain among the youth the Lord's 
prayer and the apostles' creed, they add, " This will be 
abundantly more effectual, if, first of all, we are careful 
that Jesus Christ may arise in our own hearts. The fire 
with which we should then be animated would soon stir 
up and warm the docile minds of children. Otherwise, 
that which reason alone draws from books, and is taught 
bv other men, is no more than a human work, and will 
be inotl'ectual, till the great master, the Holy Spirit itself, 
])ec(jiius of the l)arty, creating, renewing, and regenerating 
to a celestial and eternal life." Acts of the Synod, 
chap, xxxiv. 

iu:iLi:cTi(").\.s UPON the sf.com) trait of the 

CHARACTER OF ST. PAUL. 

1. The experimental knowledge of our misery as sin- 
ners, and of our salvation as sinners redeemed, is the 
])ortion of every believer under the gospel. If we are des- 
titute of this twofold knowhdge, we are yet in a state 
of dangerous ignorance, and are denominated Christians 
in vain ; since Christian humility has its source in the 
knowled^'e of our corruption, as Christian charity flow^s 
from a knowledge of the great salvation which Christ has 
jiro.iired for us; and if these two graces are not resident 
in our hearts, our religion is but the shadow of Chris- 
tianity. 

Vol. v. m 



242 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

2. As there are some persons whose physiognomy is 
strongly marked, and who have something peculiarly 
striking in the whole turn of their countenance ; so there 
are some, the traits of whose moral character are equally 
striking, and whose conversion is distinguished by uncom- 
mon circumstances. Such was the apostle Paul. But a 
train of wonderful occurrences is by no means necessary 
to conversion. For example : it is not necessary that all 
believers should be actually cast to the earth ; or, that 
groaning beneath the weight of their sins, and under the 
conviction of a twofold blindness, they should continue in 
prayer for three days and nights, without either eating or 
drinking. But it is absolutely necessary, that they should 
be sensible of an extreme sorrow for having offended a 
gracious God ; that they should condemn themselves and 
their vices by an unfeigned repentance ; and that, confess- 
ing the depravity of their whole heart, they should aban- 
don themselves to that sincere distress which refuses all 
consolation, except that which is from above. Neither is 
it necessary that they should hear a voice from heaven ; 
that they should see a light brighter than the sun ; or 
behold in a vision the minister chosen to bring them con- 
solation in the name of the Lord Jesus. But it is abso- 
lutely necessary that they should hear the word of God ; 
that they should be illuminated by the gospel, and receive 
directions from any messenger sent for their relief; till, 
placing their whole confidence in God, through a gracious 
Redeemer, they feel a new and heavenly nature produced 
within them. This sincere repentance and this living faith, 
or, which is the same thing, this Christian piety, is strictly 
required of every believer under the new testament. 

3. Christian piety constitutes the great difference that 
is observed between true ministers and unworthy pastors. 
The latter preach chiefly, either in order to obtain bene- 
fices, or to preserve them, or, perhaps, to relieve one 
another in the discharge of those duties which they esteem 
heavy and painful ; but the desire of communicating to 
sinners that spiritual knowledge which is more precious 
than rubies is the grand motive for preaching with the 
true ministers of God ; they publish Christ, like St. Paul, 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 243 

from sentiment and inclination, exposing themselves even 
to persecution on account of preaching the gospel, like 
those faithful evangelists who, when commanded to teach 
no more in the name of Jesus, answered with equal 
respect and resolution, " Whether it be right in the sight 
of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge 
ye ; for we cannot but speak the things which we have 
seen and heard." Acts iv. 19, 20. 

4. It is worthy of observation, that St. Paul supplicates, 
not only for all public teachers, but for every private 
believer in the church, the highest degrees of grace and 
Christian experience : " I cease not," saith he to the 
Ephesians, " to make mention of you in my prayers ; that 
the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all glory, 
may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in 
the knowledge of him : the eyes of your understanding 
being enlightened ; that ye may know what is the hope of 
his calling, and Avhat the riches of the glory of his inhe- 
ritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness 
of his power to us- ward who believe." Eph. i. 16 — 19. 
And the same end which this apostle proposed to himself 
in his private supplications, St. John also proposed to 
himself in writing his public epistles : " That which we 
have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also 
mar have fc'lh)Av.s]up with us: and truly our fellowship is 
with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And 
tlifse thin<;s write we unto you, that your joy may be 
full." 1 John i. 3, 4. As though he had said, " We write, 
if haply wc may excite you to seek after higher degrees 
of faith, charity, and obedience, ' that, being rooted and 
grounded in love, ye may be able to comprehend with all 
saints the love of C^hrist, which passeth knowledge, tliat 
ye may be filled with all the fulness of God.' " Eph. iii. 
17 — 19- The attentive reader will easUy perceive, that 
what was once the subject of St. Paul's most ardent 
prayer, is at this day considered, by nominal Chris- 
tians in general, as a proper subject for the most pointed 
raillery. 

'). Those ministers who are not yet furnished with 
Christian experience, and who are not seeking after it as 

M 2 



244 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

" the pearl of great price," held out to us in the gospel, 
are not* yet truly converted to the Christian faith ; and, I 
repeat it after Mr. Ostervald, " being destitute of Chris- 
tian piety, far from being in circumstances to preach the 
gospel, they are not able even to comprehend it." These 
are they "who, having a form of godliness, deny the 
power thereof." 2 Tim. iii. 5. And the greatest eulogiura 
that can be pronounced upon such characters is that with 
which St. Paul honoured the unbelieving zealots of his 
time : " I bear them record, that they have a zeal for 
God ; " but that zeal is unaccompanied with any true 
knowledge, either of man's weakness, or the Redeemer's 
power : " for they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, 
and going about to establish their ovm righteousness, have 
not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every 
one that believeth." Rom. x. 2 — 4. 

6. Whoever has not experienced that conviction of 
sin and that repentance which are described by St. Paul, in 
Rom. vii., though, like Nicodemus, he may be a doctor in 
Israel, yet he shall never see the kingdom of God. 
Totally carnal, and satisfied to continue so, he neither 
understands nor desires that regeneration which the gospel 
proposes and insists upon. He endeavours not to fathom 
the sense of those important words, " Verily, verily, I say 
unto thee. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the 
kingdom of God." John iii. 3. He considers those who 
are born of the Spirit as rank enthusiasts, and disdains to 
make any serious inquiry respecting the foundation of 
their hope. If his acquaintance with the letter of the 
scripture did not restrain him, he would tauntingly address 
the artless question of Nicodemus to every minister who 
preaches the doctrine of regeneration : " How can a man 
be bom when he is old ? Can he enter the second time 
into his mothers womb, and be born?" John iii. 4. And 
unless he was withheld by a sense of politeness, he would 
rudely repeat to every zealous follower of St. Paul the 
ungracious expression of Festus : " Thou art beside thy- 
self; much" mystic "learning doth make thee mad." 
Acts xxvi. 24. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



245 



7. On the contrary, a minister who is distinguished by 
the second trait of the character of St. Paul, at the same 
time proportional.ly possesses every disposition necessary 
to form an evangelical pastor ; since it is not possible for 
Christian piety to exist without the brilliant light of truth, 
and the burning zeal of charity. And every minister who 
has this light and this love is enriched with those two 
powerful resources which enabled the first Christians to 
act as the citizens of heaven, and the first ministers as 
ambassadors of Christ. 



TRAIT III. 

HIS INTIMATE UNION WITH CHRIST BY FAITH. 

" I AM come," said the good Shepherd, " that my sheep 
might have life, and that they might have it more abun- 
dantly." John X. 10, 11. "I am the light of the world." 
John viii. 12. '"I am the way, the truth, and the life." 
John xiv. G. " I am the vine ; ye are the branches." 
Jolin XV. '). The faithful minister understands the signi- 
fication of these mys^terious expressions. He walks in 
this " way," he follows this " light," he embraces this 
" truth," and enjoys this " life " in all its rich abundance. 
Constantly united to his Lord by an humble faith, a lively 
hope, and an ardent charity, he is enabled to say, with 
St. Paul, " The love of Christ constraineth " me ; " because 
wc thus judge, that if one die<l for all, then were all dead ; 
and that he died for all, that they which live should not 
lienceforth live unto themselves, but unto him, who died for 
them, and rose again." 2 Cor. v. 11, 15. " We are dead, 
and our life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, 
who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear 
with him in glory." Col. iii. 3, 4. " For if Ave have been 
planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be 
also in the likeness of his resurrection. KnoAving that 
CliD-t being raised from the dead dieth no more, but 



246 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

liveth unto God ; we likewise reckon ourselves to be dead 
indeed, unto sin, but alive unto God through Christ our 
Lord." Rom. vi. 5, 9 — 11. 

This living faith is the source from whence all the sanc- 
tity of the Christian is derived, and all the power of the 
true minister ; it is the medium through which that sap 
of grace and consolation, those streams of peace and joy, 
are perpetually flomng which enrich the believing soul, 
and make it fruitful in every good work ; or, to speak 
without a metaphor, from this powerful grace proceeds 
that love of God and man which influences us to think 
and act either as members or as ministers of Jesus 
Christ. The character of the Christian is determined by 
the strength or weakness of his faith. If the faith of St. 
Paul had been weak or wavering, his portrait would have 
been unworthy our contemplation ; he would necessarily 
have fallen into doubt and discouragement ; he might pro- 
bably have sunk into sin, as St. Peter plunged into the sea ; 
he must, sooner or later, have lost his spiritual vigour, and 
have made the same appearance in the church as those 
ministers and Christians who are influenced by the maxims 
of the world. The efi*ects of faith are still truly mysterious, 
though our Lord has explained them in as intelligible a 
manner as their nature will permit : " He that abideth in 
me," by a living faith, " and in whom I abide," by the 
light of my word and the power of my Spirit, " the same 
bringeth forth much fruit : for without me ye can do 
nothing. If any man abide not in me, he is cast 
forth as a branch, and " being " withered, is cast into 
the fire, and burned. Herein is my Father glorified, 
that," united to me as the branches to the vine, "ye 
bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." John 
XV. 5, 6, 8. 

Penetrated with these great truths, and daily cleaving 
more firmly to his living Head, the true minister expresses 
what the natural man cannot receive, and what few pastors 
of the present age are able to comprehend, though St. Paul 
not only experienced it in his own heart, but openly 
declares it in the following remarkable passage : " I am 
crucified with Christ : nevertheless I live ; yet, not I, but 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAtTL. 247 

Christ liveth in me : and the life which I now live in the 
Hesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, 
and gave himself for me." Gal. ii. 20. 



TRAIT IV. 

HIS EXTRAORDINARY VOCATION TO THE HOLY MINISTRY, 
AND IN WHAT THAT BIINISTRY CHIEFLY CONSISTS. 

Every professor of Christianity is acquainted with the 
honour which our Lord conferred upon the apostle Paul, 
in not only calling him to a participation of the Christian 
faith, but by appointing him also to publish the everlast- 
incr orospel. A just sense of this double honour penetrated 
the heart of that apostle with the most lively gratitude : 
" I give thanks," saith he, " to Christ Jesus our Lord, 
for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the 
ministry ; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, 
and injurious : but I obtained mercy, because I did it 
ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was 
exceeding abundant in me, Avith faith and love, which is 
in Christ Jesus. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, 
that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long- 
suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter 
believe on him to everlasting life." 1 Tim. i. 12 — 16. 
The evangehcal ministry, to which St. Paul was immedi- 
ately called, is in general the same through every age 
enlii;htened by the gospel ; and consists in publishing the 
truth alter such a manner that the wicked may be con- 
vrrtod, and the faithful edified. The commission which 
this great apostle received from Christ contains, essentially, 
nothing more than the acknowledged duty of every minis- 
ter of the gospel. Leave out the miraculous appearance 
of our Lord ; pass over the circumstance of a commission 
given in an extraordinary manner ; substitute the word 
'' sinners" for that of " gentiles," and instead of " Jews" 
read ''hypocritical professors ;" and you will perceive that 
with these immaterial alterations, the commission of Si 



248 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

Paul is the commission of every faithful minister in the 
churct. Observe the tenor of it. In person or by my 
ambassadors, in a manner either extraordinary or ordinary, 
" I appoint thee a minister and a witness of those things 
which thou hast seen," or experienced, " and of those 
things in the which I will appear to thee ; and I will 
deliver thee from the hands of the people, and from the 
gentiles," (that is, from the hands of hypocritical professors, 
and from ignorant sinners,) " unto whom I now send thee, 
to open their eyes, and to turn them from " the " darkness " 
of error " to " the " light " of truth, " and from the power 
of Satan to God," (that is, from sin, which is the image of 
Satan, to holiness, which is the image of God,) " that they 
may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among 
them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." Acts 
xxvi. 16 — 18. Such was the office to which St. Paul was 
appointed, more especially among the gentile nations ; and 
such, without doubt, is the office of every pastor, at least, 
within the limits of his particular parish. As for taking 
the ecclesiastical habit, reading over some pages of a 
liturgy, solemnizing marriages, baptizing infants, keeping 
registers, and receiving stipends, these things are merely 
accidental ; and every minister should be able to say, with 
St. Paul, " Christ sent me not," principally, " to baptize," 
but to preach the gospel." 1 Cor. i. 17. 

It is evident, from various passages in the different 
offices of our church, that our pious reformers were unani- 
mously of opinion that Christ himself appoints, and, in 
some sort, inspires, all true pastors ; that he commits the 
flock to their keeping, and that their principal care is the 
same with that of the first evangelists, namely, the con- 
version of souls. And, truly, the same Lord who appoint- 
ed his disciples, as apostles, or ocular witnesses of his 
resurrection, has also appointed others as pastors, or 
witnesses of a secondary order, and suffragans of the first 
evangelists. If the witnesses of a higher order were per- 
mitted to see Christ after his resurrection, those of a 
secondary order have felt the efficacy of his resurrection, 
" being raised together with him," or regenerated through 
the reception of " a lively hope, by the rising again of 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



249 



Christ from the dead." 1 Peter i. 3 ; Col. iii. 1. So that 
every true minister, who bears his testimony to the truths 
of the gospel, whether it be from the pulpit, or before tri- 
bunals, is supported by his own particular experience of 
Christ's resurrection, as well as by a conviction founded 
upon the depositions of the first witnesses. Now, this 
conviction, and this experience, are by no means confined 
to the ministering servants of God : the hearts of the 
faithful, in their several generations, have been influenced 
by them both, if it be true that they have constantly stood 
prepared to seal with their blood these two important 
truths, — Jesus Christ " died for our sins, and rose again 
for our justification." Millions of the laity have been 
called to give this last proof of their faith ; and, beyond 
all doubt, it is abundantly more difficult to bear testimony 
to the truth upon a scafibld, than from a pulpit. 

If St. Paul and the other apostles are considered as 
persons of a rank far superior to ours, they themselves 
cry out, " O sirs, we also are men of like passions with 
you !" Acts xiv. 15. If it be said that God inspired the 
apostles with all the wisdom and zeal necessary to fulfil 
the duties of their high vocation, it may be replied, that 
our churches implore for their established pastors the same 
wisdom and zeal, grounding such prayers upon the autho- 
rity of many plain passages of holy scripture. "Now 
unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above 
all that we ask or think, according to the power that 
worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ 
Jesus throughout all ages, world without end." Eph. iii. 
20, 21. 

■Moreover, it is an error to suppose that the apostles 
lu'Cfled no augmentation of that divine light by which 
spiritual objects arc discerned. St. Paul, who was favoured 
with an extraordinary inspiration, and that sufficient to 
coin pose sacred books in which infallibility is to be found, 
writes thus to believers: '' Now we see through a glass, 
darkly ; but then face to face : now I know in part ; but 
then shall I know even as also I am known." 1 Cor. xiii. 
1-. An humble, but happy confession, which, on the one 
hand, will not suffer us to be discouraged when we are 

M 5 



250 PORTRAIT OF ST. PATIL. 

most sensible of our inadequate light, and teaches us, 
on the»other, how necessary it is to make incessant appli- 
cation to the "Father of lights;" equally guarding us 
against the pride of some, who imagine, themselves to have 
apprehended all the truth, and the wilful ignorance of 
others, who pronoimce spiritual knowledge to he altogether 
unattainable. 

Now, if the apostle Paul could but imperfectly discern 
the depths of evangelical truth, and if angels themselves 
"desire to look into these things;" 1 Peter i. 12; who 
can sufficiently wonder at the presumption of those men 
who are so far persuaded of their own infallibility, that 
they regard all truths which they are unable to fathom as 
the mere reveries of fanaticism ? But, turning our eyes 
at present from the pernicious error of these self-exalted 
Christians, let us consider a subject in which we are more 
interested, than in the extraordinary vocation of St. Paul 
to the holy ministry. 

REFLECTIONS UPON THE ORDINARY VOCATION TO THE 

HOLY MINISTRY. 

" The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are 
few ; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he 
will send forth labourers into his harvest." Matt. ix. 37, 
38. Retaining in memory these remarkable words of our 
Lord, the conscientious man is incapable of thrusting 
himself into the holy ministry without being first duly 
called thereto by the " Lord of the harvest," the great 
" shepherd and bishop of souls." 

The minister of the present age is not ordinarily called 
to the holy ministry, except by carnal motives, such as 
his own vanity, or his peculiar taste for a tranquil and 
indolent life. Perhaps his vocation to the ministry is 
principally from his father or mother, who have deter- 
mined that their son shall enter into holy orders. Very 
frequently, if the candidate for holy orders had sincerity 
enough to discover the real inclination of his heart, he 
might make his submissions to the dignitaries of our church, 
and say, " Put me, I pray you, into one of the priests' 
offices, that I may eat a piece of bread." 1 Sam. ii. 36. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 251 

It is not thus with the real believer who consecrates 
himself to the holy ministry. He is not ignorant that 
" Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest ;" 
and he is perfectly assured, that no man has a right to 
take upon himself the sacerdotal dignity, " but he that is 
called of God," either in an extraordinary manner, as 
Aaron and St. Paul, or, at least, in an ordinary manner, 
as Apollos and Timothy. Heb. v. 4, 5. As it is a matter 
of the utmost importance to understand by what tokens 
this ordinary vocation to the holy ministry may be dis- 
covered, the following reflections upon so interesting a 
subject may not be altogether superfluous. 

If a young man of -virtuous manners is deeply pene- 
trated with this humiliating truth, — " All have sinned, 
and come short of the glory of God," Rom. iii. 23; if, 
further, he is effectually convinced of this consolatory 
truth, — " God so loved the world, that he gave his only- 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not 
perish, but have everlasting life," John iii. 16 ; if his 
natural talents have been strengthened by a liberal educa- 
tion ; if the pleasure of doing good is sweeter to him than 
all the pleasures of sense ; if the hope of " converting 
sinners from the error of their way" occupies his mind 
more a^^rtcaMy than the idea of acquiring aU the advan- 
tages of fortune ; if the honour of publishing the gospel 
is superior in his eyes to the honour of becoming the 
ambassador of an earthly prince ; — in short, if by a desire 
which springs from the fear of God, the love of Christ, 
and the concern he takes in the salvation of his neigh - 
hour, he is led to consecrate himself to the holy ministry ; 
if, in the order of providence, outward circumstances con- 
cur witli his own designs ; and if he solicits the grace 
and assistance of God with gi-eater eagerness than he 
seeks the outward vocation from his superiors in the 
church by the imposition of hands ; — he may then satisfy 
himself that the great High Priest of the Christian pro- 
fession has set him apiu-t for the high ofiice to which he 
avj>ires. 

AVlicn, after serious examination, any student in theo- 
I'jgy discovers in himself the necessary dispositions men- 



252 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

tioned above, then, having received imposition of hands, 
with faith and humihty, from the pastors who preside in 
the church, he may solidly conclude, that he has been 
favoured with the ordinary vocation. Hence, looking up 
to the source of the important ofl&ce with which he is 
honoured, he can adopt with propriety the language of 
St. Paul : " I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he 
hath counted me faithfiil, putting me into the ministry." 
1 Tim. i. 12. "Though I preach the gospel, I have 
nothing to glory of : for necessity is laid upon me ; yea, 
woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel ;" for then I 
should be found unfaithful to my vocation. 1 Cor. ix. 16. 
" God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, 
and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ." 2 Cor. v. 19, 
20. And if he becomes not like that wicked and slothful 
servant, who refused to administer to the necessities of 
his master s household, he will be able at all times to say, 
" Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have 
received mercy, we faint not ; but have renounced the 
hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, 
nor handling the word of God deceitfully ; but by mani- 
festation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's 
conscience in the sight of God." 2 Cor. iv. 1, 2. 

A person of this description searching the depths of the 
human heart, of which he has acquired a competent 
knowledge by the study of his own, meditating with 
attention upon the proofs, and with humility upon the 
mysteries, of our holy religion, giving himself up to the 
study of diArine things, and, above all, to prayer and to 
good works, — such a pastor may reasonably hope to " grow 
in grace," and in the knowledge of that powerful Saviour 
whom he earnestly proclaims to others. Nor is it proba- 
ble that such a one will labour altogether in vain. Gra- 
dually instructed in the things which concern the king- 
dom of God, he will become like the father of a family, 
bringing forth out of his treasures " things new and old ;" 
and whether he speaks of the old man, the earthly nature, 
which he has put off with such extreme pain, or the 
new man, the heavenly nature, which he has put on with 



PORTRAIT OF ST, PAUL. 253 

equal joy, Eph. iv. 22—24, he will speak with a convic- 
tion so powerful, and a persuasion so constraining, that 
the careless must necessarily be alarmed, and the faithful 
encouraged. 



TRAIT V 

HIS ENTIRE DEVOTION TO JESUS CHRIST. 

The true Christian, called to become a disciple of the 
blessed Jesus, rather than refuse the offered privilege, 
renounces his all. If this token of devotion to Christ is 
discernible in the character of every true Christian, it is 
still more conspicuous in the character of every true mi- 
nister. Such a person, inAvardly called by the grace of 
God to a state of discipleship with Christ, and outwardly 
consecrated to such a state by the imposition of hands, 
gives himself unreservedly up to the service of his conde- 
bcending Master. He withstands no longer that perma- 
nent command of our exalted Lord to which his first disci- 
ples showed so cheerful a submission : " Follow me." 
Nor is he discouraged while Christ continues : " If any 
man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his 
cross, and follow me." Matt. xvi. 24. " No man, having 
put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the 
kingdom of God." Luke ix. 62. " He that loveth father 
or mother, son or daughter, more than me is not worthy 
of mo. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he 
that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Matt. x. 
37, 39. If there be found any pastor who cannot adopt 
the solemn appeal of the first ministers of Christ, " Lo, we 
have left all, and followed thee," Luke xviii. 28, that man 
is in no situation to copy the example of his forerunners 
in the Christian church, and is altogether unworthy the 
ohiu-actcr he boars ; since, without this detachment from 
tho world, and this devotion to the Son of God, he flatters 
himsolf in vain, that he is either a true minister, or a real 
member, of Jesus Christ. 



254 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

Observe the declaration of one whose attachment to his 
divine* Master deserves to be had in everlasting remem- 
brance : " Those things which were gain to me, I counted 
loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things 
but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ 
Jesus my Lord : for whom I have suffered the loss of all 
things, and do count them but dung, that I may win 
Christ, and be found in him, having the righteousness 
which is of God by faith." Philip, iii. 7—9. " For none 
of us," true Christians or true ministers, " liveth to him- 
self, or dieth to himself : " but " whether we live, we live 
unto the Lord ; and whether we die, we die unto the 
Lord." Rom. xiv. 7, 8. 

Professing to be either a minister or a believer of the 
gospel, without this entire devotion to Jesus Christ, is to 
live in a state of the most dangerous hjrpocrisy ; it is nei- 
ther more nor less than saying, " Lord ! Lord ! " without 
having a firm resolution to do what our gracious Master 
has commanded. 



TRAIT VI. 

HIS STRENGTH AND HIS ARMS. 

The ministers of the present age are furnished in a 
manner suitable to their design. As they are more desir- 
ous to please than to convert their hearers, so they are 
peculiarly anxious to embellish the inventions of a seduc- 
ing imagination : they are continually seeking after the 
beauty of metaphors, the brilliancy of antitheses, the 
delicacy of description, the just arrangements of words, the 
aptness of gesture, the modulations of voice, and every 
other studied ornament of artificial eloquence ; while the 
true minister, effectually convinced of the excellence of 
the gospel, relies alone for the effect of his public ministry 
upon the force of truth, and the assistance of his divine 
Master. 

Observe the manner in which St. Paul expresses him- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 255 

self upon this subject : " We having the same spirit of faith, 
according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I 
spoken ; we also believe, and therefore speak." 2 Cor. 
iv. 13. "And I, brethren, came not with excellency of 
speech or of A^isdom, declaring unto you the testimony of 
God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, 
save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And my speech 
and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's 
n-isdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power : 
that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, 
but in the power of God." 1 Cor. ii. 1 — 5. " For the 
weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty 
through God to the pulling down of strong holds ; cast- 
ing down imaginations, and every high thing that 
esalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bring- 
ing into captivity every thought to the obedience of 
Christ." 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. 

The true minister, following the example of St. Paul, 
after having experienced the power of these victorious 
arras, exhorts every soldier of Christ to provide himself 
%vith the same spiritual weapons : " Finally, my brethren, 
be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to 
stand. For we ^^Testle not" merely "against flesh and 
blood, but against principalities, against powers, against 
the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual 
wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the 
whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand 
in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand 
therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having 
on the breast-plate of righteousness, and your feet shod 
with the preparation of the gospel of peace ; above all, 
talking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to 
quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the 
helmet of salvatic.n, and the sword of the Spirit, which 
is the word of God. And," that you may perform 
liiioical service with these arms, " pray always with all 
prayer and supplication in the Spirit." Eph. vi. 10—18. 

So long as the faithful minister or servant of Christ 
wears and wields these scriptural arms, he will be truly 



256 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

invincible. But no man can gird himself with these invi- 
sible weapons, except he be born of the Spirit ; nor can 
any Christian soldier employ them to good purpose, unless 
he be first endued with all that divine power which flows 
from the love of God and man ; he must feel, at least, 
some sparks of that fire of charity which warmed the 
bosom of St. Paul when he cried out, " Whether we be 
beside ourselves, it is to God ; or whether we be sober, it 
is for your cause : for the love of Christ " and of souls 
" constraineth us." 2 Cor. v. 13, 14. 

" From the time that the eyes of St. Paul were opened 
to a perception of the gospel," says M. Romilly, pastor of 
a church in Geneva, " we find him no longer the same 
person ; he is another man, he is a new creature, who 
thinks no more but on gospel truths, who hears nothing, 
who breathes nothing, but the gospel, who speaks on no 
other subject, who attends to no other thing, but the voice 
of the gospel, who desires all the world to attend with him 
to the same voice, and wishes to communicate his trans- 
ports to all mankind. From this happy period, neither 
the prejudices of flesh and blood, neither respect to man, 
nor the fear of death, nor any other consideration, is able 
to withstand him in his course. He moves on with 
serenity in a path sown thick with reproaches and pain. 
What has he to fear ? He despises the maxims of the 
world ; nay, the world itself, — its hatred as well as its 
favour, its joys as well as its sorrows, its meanness as well 
as its pomp. Time is no longer an object with him, nor is 
his economy regulated by it. He is superior to every 
thing : he is immortal. Though the universe arms itself 
against him, though hell opens its abysses, though afiliction 
assaults him on every side, he stands immovable in every 
storm, looking with contempt upon death, conscious that 
he can never die. Superior to all his enemies, he resists 
their united attempts with the arms of the gospel, oppos- 
ing to time and hell eternity and heaven." 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 257 



TRAIT VII. 

niS POWER TO BIND, TO LOOSE, AND TO BLESS, IN THE 
NAME OP THE LORD. 

The armour of God described in the preceding article 
is common to all Christians; but the true minister is 
girded with -weapons of a pecuhar temper. As a Chris- 
tian, his sword is the word of God in general; but as a 
minister, it is especially those parts of the gospel by which 
he is invested with authority to preach the word of God, 
and to perform the functions of an ambassador of Jesus 
Christ. " Go," said our blessed Master to his first disci- 
ples, •' and preach the gospel to every creature. He that 
believeth " my doctrine " shall be saved ; but he that 
believeth not shall be damned." Mark xvi. 15, 16. " All 
power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye 
therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the 
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost : teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I 
have commanded you : and, lo, I am with you alway, 
even unto the end of the world." Matt, xxviii. 18 — 20. 
•• ^"erily, verily I say unto you. He that receiveth whomso- 
ever I send, receiveth me ; and he that receiveth me, 
receiveth him that sent me." John xiii. 20. " Verily I 
say unto you, Whatsover ye shall bind on earth, shall be 
bound in heaven ; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth," 
according to the spirit of my gospel, " shall be loosed in 
heaven." JNIatt. xviii. 18. 

Heboid from whence the ministers of Christ have 
authority to absolve true penitents, and to excommunicate 
obstinate sinners ! an authority which some have called 
'• the power of the clergy ;" — a power which unrighteous 
} I asters so much abuse, and which the faithful never pre- 
sume to exercise but with the utmost solemnity; — a power 
wljich, nevertheless, belongs to them of divine right, and 
which ean be denied them with no more reason than they 
can refuse the sacramental cup to the people. Such, at 
least, is the judgment of many excellent and learned divines; 



258 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

among whom may be reckoned M. Ostervald and M. 
Roques, It may, however, be inquired, with propriety, 
in tliis place, Can ecclesiastics be justified in still making 
use of their authority in these respects, unless they do it 
with prudence and impartiality ? And would it not be- 
come them to exercise the ecclesiastic discipline in an 
especial manner upon unworthy pastors, following the 
maxim of St. Peter : " The time is come that judgment 
must begin at the house of God ?" 1 Peter iv. 17. 

Invested with the authority which Christ has conferred 
upon him, the true minister is prepared to denounce the 
just judgments of God against obstinate sinners, to console 
the dejected, and to proclaim the promises of the gospel 
to every sincere believer, with an energy unknown to the 
worldly pastor, and with a power which is accompanied by 
the seal of the living God. Thus, when such a minister 
clearly discerns the profound malice of another Elymas, he 
is permitted to say, with the authority of an ambassador of 
Jesus Christ, " O full of all subtilty, and all mischief, thou 
child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt 
thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord ? 
Behold, the hand of the Lord shall be upon thee." Acts 
xiii. 10, 11. But the true minister is careful never to 
abuse this awful power. " We can do nothing," says St. 
Paul, " against the truth, but for the truth : I write these 
things being absent, lest, being present, I should use 
sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath 
given me to edification, and not to destruction." 2 Cor. 
xiii. 8, 10. The denunciation of vengeance is to the minis- 
ter of Christ what the execution of judgment is to the God 
of love, — his painful and " strange work." 

The good pastor, conscious that the ministration of 
mercy exceeds in glory the ministration of condemnation, 
places his chief glory and pleasure in spreading abroad 
the blessings of the new covenant. He knows that the 
promises are yea and amen in that beneficent Redeemer 
who gave the following charge to his first missionaries : 
" Into whatsoever house ye enter, first say. Peace be to 
this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace 
shall rest upon him : if not, it shall turn to you again.* 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



259 



Luke ^.5,6. The wishes and prayers of a minister who 
acts and speaks in conformity to the intent of this benign 
char^^e really communicate the peace and benediction of 
his gracious Master to those who are meet for their recep- 
tion ; and according to the degree of his faith he can write 
to the faithful of distant churches, with the confidence of 
.*<t. Paul : " I am persuaded that when I come unto you, I 
shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel 
of Christ." Rom. xv. 29. Whenever he salutes his bre- 
thren, his pen or his lips become the channel of those 
eranTelical wishes which flow from his heart : " Grace be 
unto you, and peace from God our Father, and from the 
Lord Jesus Christ." Phil. i. 2. " The grace of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of 
the Holy Ghost be with you all." 2 Cor. xiii. 14. Thus 
the true minister approves himself a member of the 
" royal priesthood," a priest of the Most High, " after the 
order of Melchizedek," who blessed the patriarch. Abraham; 
or rather, a ministering servant of the Son of God, who 
was manifested in the flesh, that " in him all the families 
of the eai'th might be blessed." 

Great God, grant that the whole company of Christian 
pastors may be men after thine own heart ! Leaving to 
the ignorant those compliments which a slavish depend- 
ence has invented, may thy ministers perpetually carry 
about thcra the love, the gravity, and the apostolic author- 
ity which belong to their sacred character ! May all the 
benedictions which thou hast commissioned them to pro- 
nounce cause them still to be received in every place " as 
angels of Cod!" Gal. iv. 14. Far from being despised as 
hypocrites, shunned as troublesome guests, or feared as 
men of a covetous and tyrannical disposition, may that 
moment always be esteemed a happy one in which they 
enter any man's habitation; and whenever they make 
their appearance upon these charitable occasions, may 
those who compose the family, each seeking to give the 
first salute, cry out, " How beautiful are the feet of 
thera that preach the gospel of peace!" Rom. x. 15. 

The power of pronouncing exhortations and blessings is 
not the exclusive privilege of pastors, but belongs to all 



260 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

experienced believers. The patriarchs had a right to bless 
their chiWren ; and Jacob blessed, not only his sons and 
grandsons, but also the king of Egypt himself. If the 
followers of Christ, then, are deprived of this consolatory 
power, the children of ancient Israel were more highly 
privileged than the members of the Christian church, who 
are called, nevertheless, to receive more precious benedic- 
tions, and to be, as our Lord expresses it, " the salt of the 
earth," and " the light of the world." When St. Paul 
writes to believers, " Desire spiritual gifts, but rather 
that ye may prophesy : for he that prophesieth speaketh 
unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort," 
(1 Cor, xiv. 1, 3,) he doubtless excites them to ask of 
God that overflowing charity, and that patriarchal author- 
ity, without which it is impossible for them fully to com- 
ply with the following apostolic injunction : " Bless, and 
curse not ; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye 
should inherit a blessing;" and, without a high degree 
of which they cannot sincerely obey those distinguished 
precepts of our blessed Lord: "Love your enemies, do 
good to them that hate you, and pray for them which 
despitefully use you and persecute you." Rom. xii. 14 ; 
1 Peter iii. 9 ; Matt. v. 44. 



TRAIT VIIL 

THE EARNESTNESS WITH WHICH HE BEGAN AND CON- 
TINUED TO FILL UP THE DUTIES OF HIS VOCATION. 

The true penitent, having renounced himself for the 
honour of following his exalted Lord, stands faithfully in 
his own vocation, whether it be secular or ecclesiastic. 
He is prepared, upon all occasions, to perform the will of his 
gracious Master ; and if he is commissioned to act as a 
minister of Christ, after furnishing himself with " the 
whole armour of God," he will expose himself, without 
fear, to the most threatening dangers, that he may compel 
sinners to come in to the marriage supper of the Lamb. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 261 

" I rejoice," saith St. Paul, " in my sufferings for the body 
of Christ, which is the church : whereof I am made a 
minister, according to the dispensation of God which is 
given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God ; even the 
mystery which hath been hid from ages, but which is now 
made manifest to his saints : to whom God would make 
known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery 
among the gentiles ; which is Christ in you, the hope of 
glorv : whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching 
everv man in all wisdom; that we may present every man 
perfect in Christ Jesus : whereunto I also labour, striving 
according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. 
For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for 
you," and for all those among whom the word of God is 
preached ; " that their hearts might be comforted, being 
knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full 
assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of 
the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ ; in 
whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." 
Col. i. 24—2!); ii. 1—3. 

.Such are the great ideas which the apostle Paul enter- 
tained of the ministry he had received : and observe the 
assiduity with which he discharged the duties of so im- 
portant an olHcc. '" Ye know," says he, speaking to the 
pastors to whom he committed the care of one of his 
flocks, " from the fir-^t day that T came into Asia, after 
what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving 
the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, 
and temptations ; and how I kept back nothing that was 
jiiniitablc unto you, but have showed j'ou, and have taught 
you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to 
the -Jews, and also to the (! reeks, rej)entance toward God, 
and faith toward our Jjord Jesus Christ. Wherefore I 
take you to record this day, tliJit I am pure from the blood 
ot all men. For 1 have not shunned to declare unto you 
all the counsel of (Jod. Take heed therefore unto your- 
selves; for I know this, that after my departing shall 
grievous wolves," unfaithful pastors, "enter in among you, 
not sjiaring the flock. Therefore watch, and remember, 
that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn 



262 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

every one night and day with tears." Acts xx. 18 — 31. 
In every»place he discharged the obligations of a minister 
with the same application and zeal, travelling from city to 
city, and from church to church, bearing testimony to 
" the redemption that is in Jesus," and declaring the great 
truths of the gospel. When the synagogues were shut 
against him, he preached in the schools of philosophers, 
upon the sea-shore, on shipboard, and even in prisons ; 
and while he dwelt a prisoner in his own house at Rome, 
" he received all that came in unto him, to whom he ex- 
pounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading 
them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, 
and out of the Prophets, from morning tiU evening." 
Acts xxviii. 23. 

Thus the Son of God himself once publicly laboured 
for the conversion of sinners, sometimes going through " all 
Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the 
gospel ; " (Matt. iv. 23 ;) and at other times instructing the 
multitudes, who either followed them into the fields, or 
resorted to the house where he lodged ; " for there were 
many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much 
as to eat." Mark vi. 31. And when through the pleasure 
of bringing the Samaritans acquainted with spiritual truth, 
he disregarded the necessities of nature, his disciples, re- 
questing him to partake of the food they had prepared, 
received from him this memorable answer : " I have meat 
to eat that ye know not of; my meat is to do the will of 
him that sent me, and to finish his work," namely, the 
glorious work of enlightening and saving sinners. John 
iv. 31—34. 

Thus St. Paul was diligently and daily occupied in ful- 
filling the duties of his apostolic vocation ; and thus every 
minister of the gospel is called to labour in his appointed 
sphere. It remains to be known, whether all who do 
not labour according to their ability are not condemned 
by the following general rule : " If any will not work, 
neither shall he eat." 2. Thess. iii. 10. For these words 
signify, applied to the present case, that they who will not 
labour as pastors, should by no means be permitted to eat 
the bread of pastors ; an evangelical precept this, which 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 263 

deserves the strictest attention, as the bread of pastors is, 
in some sort, sacred bread, since it is that wliich the 
piety of the public has set apart for the support of those 
who have abandoned every worldly pursuit, that they 
might dedicate themselves freely and fully to the service 
of the church. 



TRAIT IX. 

THE MANNER IN WHICH HE DIVIDED HIS TIME BETWEEN 
PRAYER, PREACHING, AND THANKSGIVING. 

The minister of the present age is but seldom engaged 
in publishing to his people the truths of the gospel ; and 
still more rarely in supplicating for them the possession of 
those blessings which the gospel proposes. It is chiefly 
before men that he lifts up his hands, and affects to pour 
out a prayer from the fulness of his heart : while the true 
minister divides his time between the two important and 
refreshing occupations of preaching and prayer ; by the 
f jmar, making a public oftVr of divine grace to his 
hearers; and by the latter, soliciting for them in secret the 
experience of that graeo. »Such Avas the manner of tlio 
blessed Jesus himself, who, after having reproved his dis- 
ciples for the low degree of tluir faith, retired either into 
gardens, or upon mountains, praying that their " faith 
might not fail." The good pastor, who constantly imitat(>s 
the example of his divine master, is })rcpared to adopt the 
following language of St. Paul, in addressing the flock 
upon which he is immediately appointed to attend : 
" For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our 
liord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven 
and earth is named, that he would grant you, according t(. 
the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by 
Ins Spirit in the inner man ; that Christ may dwell 
in vour hearts by faith ; that ye, being rooted and 
grounded in love, may be filled Avith all the fulness of 
God." i:ph. iii. 14—19. "And this I pray, that your 



264 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and 
in all ^'udgment ; that ye may approve things that are 
excellent ; that ye may be sincere and without offence till 
the day of Christ ; being filled with the fruits of righte- 
ousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and 
praise of God." Phil. i. 9 — 11. By prayers like these, 
the apostle Paul was accustomed to water, without ceasing, 
the heavenly seed which he had so widely scattered 
through the vineyard of his Lord, manifesting an in- 
creasing attachment to those among whom he had at any 
time published the tidings of salvation, and breathing out, 
in all his epistles to distant churches, the most earnest 
desire that God would " fulfil " in them " all the good 
pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with 
power ; that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ might be 
glorified in them, and they in him." 2 Thess. i. 11, 12. 

Pastors, who pray thus for their flocks, pray not in vain. 
Their fervent petitions are heard, sinners are converted, 
the faithful are edified, and thanksgiving is shortly joined 
to supplication. Thus the same apostle : " I thank my 
God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is 
given you by Jesus Christ; that in everything ye are 
enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge : 
so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming 
of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. i. 4 — 7- " Having 
heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and your love imto 
all the saints, I cease not to give thanks for you." Eph. i. 
15, 16. 

"Worldly ministers have no experience of the holy joy 
that accompanies these secret sacrifices of praise and 
thanksgiving. But this can by no means be considered 
as matter of astonishment. Is their attachment to Christ 
as sincere as that of his faithful ministers ? Are they as 
solicitous for the salvation of their hearers ? Do they 
teach and preach with equal zeal ? Do they pray with 
the same ardour and perseverance ? 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 265 



TRAIT X. 

THE FIDELITY WITH WHICH HE ANNOUNCED THE SEVERE 
THREATEMNGS AND CONSOLATORY PROMISES OF THE 
GOSPEL. 

The worldly minister has neither the courage nor the 
tenderness of the true pastor. He is fearful of publishing 
those truths which are calculated to alarm the careless 
sinner ; and he knows not in Avhat manner to apply the 
promises of the gospel for the relief of those who mourn. 
If ever he attempts to descant upon the consolatory truths 
of the gospel, he only labours to explain what is nearly 
unintelligible to himself; and all his discourses on sub- 
jects of this nature are void of that earnest persuasion, 
and that unction of love, which characterize the ministers 
of Christ. On the other hand, his dread of giving offence 
will not suffer him to address sinners of every rank with 
the holy boldness of the prophet Samuel : " If ye will not 
obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the com- 
mandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord 
be against you. If ye still do wickedly, ye shall be con- 
siiraed." 1 Sam. xii. 15, 25. The faithful pastor, on the 
contrary, conscious tliat the harshest truths of the gospel 
are as necessary as they are offensive, courageously insists 
upon them in the manner of St. Paul : " Thinkest thou, 
() man, that doest sucli things, that thou shalt escape the 
judgment of God?" Know this, that ^' after thy hard- 
ness and impenitent heart thou treasurest up unto thyself 
wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the 
righteous judgment of God ; for indignation and wrath, 
tribulation and anguish, shall be upon every soul of man 
that doeth evil." Rom. ii. 3, 5, 9. " If every transgres- 
sion" under the first covenant "received a just recompence 
ot reward, how shall we escape, if we neglect so great 
salvation ; which at the first began to be spoken by the 
Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard 
him." Ileb. ii. 2, 3. "This ye know, that no unclean 
per^f.n, nor covetous man, hath any inheritance in the 

Vol. v. 2^ 



266 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you 
with v^n words : for because of these things cometh the 
wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." Eph. v. 
5, 6. " See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if 
they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth," 
namely, the prophet Moses, " much more shall not we 
escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from 
heaven," namely, the Saviour Jesus Christ. " Where- 
fore let us serve God acceptably, with reverence and 
godly fear : for our God is a consuming fire." Heb. xii. 
25, 28, 29. 

But though the true minister courageously announces 
the most severe declarations of the word to the unbelieving 
and the impenitent, yet he is never so truly happy as 
when he invites the poor in spirit to draw forth the riches 
of grace from the treasury of God's everlasting love. 
" God hath not," saith St. Paul, " appointed us to wrath, 
but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thess. 
V. 9. " This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all 
acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save 
sinners." 1 Tim. i. 15. " Ye are not come unto the 
mount that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and 
darkness, and tempest. But ye are come unto mount 
Sion, and unto the city of the living God, and to Jesus, 
the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of 
sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. 
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the 
holiest by the blood of Jesus, and having an High Priest 
over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart 
in fiiU assurance of faith." Heb. xii. 18 — 24 ; x. 19 — 22. 
*' If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God 
by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, 
we shall be saved by his life. He that spared not his 
own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he 
not with him also freely give us all things ? Who shall 
lay any thing to the charge of God's elect ? It is God 
that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth ? It is Christ 
that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at 
the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for 
us." Bom. T. 10 ; viii. 32—34. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



267 



When these exhilarating declarations are found insuffi- 
cient to revive the hearts of the contrite, the evangelical 
preacher fails not to multiply them in the most sympa- 
thizing and affectionate manner. " I say unto you," 
continues he, " all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be 
forniven unto men : for the blood of Jesus Christ cleans- 
eth from all sin." Matt. xii. 31 ; 1 John i. 7- " And by 
him all who believe are justified from all things from 
which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." 
Acts xiii. 39. " There is therefore now no condemnation 
to them which are in Christ Jesus ;" (Rom. viii. 1 ;) " for 
where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." Rom. 
v. 20. 

Such are the cordials which the faithful evangelist 
administers to those who are weary and heavy laden ; 
— precious cordials, which the worldly pastor can never 
effectually apply ; which he either employs out of season, 
or renders useless by such additions of his own as are 
contrary to the spirit of the gospel. 



TRAIT XI. 



niS PROFOUND HUMILITY. 



There is no evil disposition of the heart with which 
the clergy are so frequently reproached as pride. And 
it is with reason that we oppose this sinful temper, espe- 
cially when it appears in pastors, since it is so entire!}' 
contrary to the spirit of the gospel, that the apostle Paul 
emphatically terms it " the condemnation of the devil." 
1 Tim. iii. (I. 

There is no amiable disposition which our Lord more 
strongly recommended to his followers, than lowliness 
of mind. From his birth to his death he gave himself a 
striking example of the most profound humility, joined 
to the most ardent charity. After having washed the feet 
of his first disciples, that is, after he had taken the place 
of a slave at their feet, he addressed them as follows : 



N 2 



268 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

*' Know ye what I have done unto you ? Ye call me 
Master and Lord : and ye say well ; for so I am. If I 
then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet ; ye 
also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given 
you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 
Yerily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater 
than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he 
that sent him." John xiii. 12 — 16. Again he says to the 
same effect, " Ye know that the princes of the gentiles 
exercise dominion over them, and they that are great 
exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so 
among you : but whosoever will be great among you, let 
him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among 
you, let him be your servant ; even as the Son of man 
came not to be ministered unto, but to minister." Mark x. 
42^45. 

Real Christianity is the school of humble charity, in 
which every true minister can say with Christ, according 
to his growth in grace, " Learn of me, for I am meek and 
lowly in heart ; and ye shall find rest unto your souls." 
And unhappy will it be for those who, reversing Chris- 
tianity, say, by their example, which is more striking 
than all their discourses, " Learn of us to be fierce and 
revengeful, at the expense of peace, both at home and 
abroad." They who receive the stipends of ministers, 
while they are thus endeavouring to subvert the religion 
they profess to support, render themselves guilty not only 
of hypocrisy, but of a species of sacrilege. 

It is supposed, that St. Peter had the pre-eminence among 
the apostles, at least by his age ; it is certain that he 
spake in the name of the other apostles; that he first 
confessed Christ in two public orations ; that our Lord 
conferred particular favours upon him ; that he was per- 
mitted to be one of the three witnesses of his Masters 
transfiguration and agony ; and that, on the day of Pente- 
cost, he proved the power of his apostolic commission by 
introducing three thousand souls at once into the king- 
dom of Christ. Far, however, from arrogating upon these 
accounts a spiritual supremacy over his brethren, he 
assumed no other title but that which was given in com- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 269 

mon to all his fellow-labourers in the ministry : " The 
elders which are among you," says he, " I exhort, who am 
also an elder : feed the flock of God which is among you, 
taking the oversight thereof, not for filthy lucre, but of a 
readv mind ; neither as being lords over God's heritage, 
but being ensamples to the flock." 1 Pet. v. 1 — 3. A piece 
of advice this, which is too much neglected by those pre- 
lates who distinguish themselves from their brethren, yet 
more by an antichristian pride, than by those ecclesias- 
tical dignities to which they have made their way by the 
intrigues of ambition. 

All pastors should seek after humility with so much the 
greater concern, since some among them, seduced with the 
desire of distinguishing themselves as persons of eminence 
in the church, after making certain ecclesiastical laws con- 
trary to the word of God, have become persecutors of 
those who refused submission to their tyrannical authority. 
Observe here the injustice of some modem philosophers, 
who, misrepresenting the Christian religion, — a religion 
which breathes nothing but humility and love, — set it 
forth as the cause of all the divisions, persecutions, and 
massacres, Avhich have ever been fomented or perpetrated 
by its corrupt professors ; disasters which, far from being 
the produce of real Christianity, have their principal 
source in the vices of a supercilious, uncharitable, and 
unticlu-istian clergy. 

The clmrch will always be exposed to these imputa- 
tions, till every ecclesiastic shall imitate St. Paul, as he 
imitated Clirist. That apostle, ever anxious to tread in 
tlie steps of his divine Master, was peculiarly distin- 
guished by his humility to God and man. Ever ready to 
confess his own native poverty, and to magnify the riches 
of grace, he cries out, "Who is sufiicient for these 
things?" Who is properly qualified to discharge all the 
functions of the holy ministry ? " Such trust have we 
through Christ to God-ward : not that Ave are sufficient 
of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our suffi- 
ciency is of God ; who also hath made us able ministers of 
the new testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit : for 
the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." 2 Cor. ii. 16; 



270 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

iii. 4 — 6. " Who is Paul, and who is Apollos, but minis*' 
ters by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every 
man ? I have planted, Apollos watered ; but God gave 
the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any 
thing, neither he that watereth ; but God that giveth the 
increase." 1 Cor. iii. 5 — 7* "I ani the least of the apostles, 
that am not meet to be called an apostle ; but by the 
grace of God I am what I am." 1 Cor. xv. 9, 10. "God hath 
shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge 
of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ : but we 
have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency 
of the power may be of God, and not of us." 2 Cor. 
iv. 6, 7. 

If the humility of St. Paul is strikingly evident in these 
remarkable passages, it is still more strongly expressed in 
those that follow : — " Ye see, brethren, that not many 
wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many 
noble are called : but God hath chosen the foolish things 
of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things 
of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and 
base things of the world, and things which are despised 
hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring 
to nought things that are : that no flesh should glory in his 
presence." 1 Cor. i. 26 — 29. " Unto me, who am less than 
the least of all saints, who am nothing, who am the chief 
of sinners, is this grace given, that I should preach the 
unsearchable riches of Christ." Eph. iii. 8 ; 2 Cor. xii, 11 ; 
1 Tim. i. 15. 

Reader, if thou hast that opinion of thyself which is 
expressed in the foregoing passages, thou art an humble 
Christian ; thou canst truly profess thyself the servant of 
aU those who salute thee ; thou art such already by thy 
charitable intentions, and art seeking occasions of demon- 
strating, by actual services, that thy tongue is the 
organ, not of an insidious politeness, but of a sincere 
heart. Like a true disciple of Christ, who concealed 
himself, when the multitude would have raised him to a 
throne, and who presented himself when they came to 
drag him to his cross, thou hast a sacred pleasure in 
liumbling thyself before God and man, and art anxious^ 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 271 

without hypocrisy or aflfectation, to take the lowest place 
among thy brethren. 

The humble Christian, convinced of his wants and his 
weakness, feels it impossible to act like those proud and 
bashful poor who will rather perish in their distress, than 
solicit the assistance of their brethren. St. Paul had 
nothing of this false modesty aboui him. Penetrated with 
a deep sense of his own unworthiness and insufficiency, 
after imploring for himself the gracious assistance of God, 
he thus humbly solicits the prayers of all the faithful : 
" Brethren, pray for us." 1 Thess. v. 25. " I beseech you, 
brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love 
of the Spirit, that ye strive together in your prayers for 
me." Rom. xv. 30. " Pray always for all saints ; and for 
me, that utterance may be given me, that I may open my 
mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 
for which I am an ambassador in bonds, that therein I 
may speak boldly as I ought to speak." Eph. vi. 18 — 20. 
"You also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift 
bestowed upon us by the means of many persons, thanks 
may be given by many on our behalf." 2 Cor. i. 1 1 . 

Thus humility, or poverty of spirit, which is set forth 
by Christ as the first beatitud*', leads us, by prayer, to all 
the benedictions of the gospel, and to that lively gratitude 
which gives birth to thanksgiving and joy. Lovely humi- 
lity, penetrate the hearts of all Christians, animate every 
jiiistcr, give jteace to the church, and happiness to the 
universe. 



TRAIT XII. 

THE INCiKNLOUS MANNER IN WlllCir HE ACKNOWLEDGED 
AND lM:i'AIRi:n IIIS ERUORS. 

It is difficult for a proud man to confess himself in an 
error; but tliey who are pcjssessed of humility and love 
can make such acknowledgments with elieerfulness. 
When St. Paul was called upon to justify his conduct 



272 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

before the tribunal of the Jews, the same spirit of resent- 
ment which animated his persecutors suddenly seized upon 
the more passionate of his judges, when the high priest, 
still more exasperated than the rest, commanded those 
who stood near Paul " to smite him on the mouth." 
It was in that moment of surprise and indignation that 
the apostle, unacquainted with the author of so indecent 
a proceeding, and not imagining that the president of an 
august assembly could so far forget his own dignity as to 
act with so reprehensible an impetuosity, gave this sharp 
reply to so unjust an order : " God shall smite thee, thou 
whited wall : for sittest thou to judge me after the law, 
and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?" 
Immediately those who stood by, reproaching him with 
his apparent disrespectful carriage, inquired with the 
utmost indignation, " Revilest thou God's high priest ?" 
Here the apostle, far from justifying his own conduct, in 
resenting the severity of a judge who had degraded him- 
self by an act of the most flagrant injustice, immediately 
acknowledged his error ; and, lest the example he had 
given should encourage any person to withhold the respect 
due to a magistrate, still more respectable by his office^, 
than blamable by his rigorous proceedings, he endeavoured 
to make instant reparation for his involuntary offence, by 
citing a pertinent passage from the law, answering with all 
meekness, " I wist not, brethren, that he was the high 
priest : for it is written. Thou shalt not speak evil of the 
ruler of thy people." Acts xxiii, 2 — 5. 

There is another instance of the indiscretion and can- 
dour of this apostle. Paul and Barnabas, going forth to 
publish the gospel, took for their companion John Mark, 
the nephew of Barnabas. That young evangelist, however, 
staggered by the dangers which those apostles were con- 
stantly obliged to encounter, forsook them at Pamphylia, 
in the midst of their painful labours. But afterwards, 
repenting of his former irresolution, he offered to accom- 
pany them in another journey. Barnabas, who had 
charity enough to hope all things of his nephew, wished to 
afford him a second trial; while Paul, whose prudence 
taught him to fear every thing from a young man who had 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 273 

already given an indisputaUe proof of his inconstancy, 
refused his consent. At length the two apostles, unable 
to decide the matter to their mutual satisfaction, took the 
resolution of separating one from another : Paul went to 
preach the gospel in Syria with Silas; while Barnabas, 
accompanied by his nephew, proceeded to proclaim 
Christ in the isle of Cyprus. Thus the separations 
of true Christians, without producing any schism in 
the church, frequently tend to the propagation of the 
gospel. 

Time alone could determine whether Barnabas was 
deceived by an abundance of charity, or St. Paul through 
an excess of prudence. The event turned the balance in 
favour of the judgment of Barnabas : the conduct of John 
Mark on this second mission was irreproachable. From 
this time St. Paul, with his usual candour, forgetting the 
former instability of Mark, placed the utmost confidence in 
him, received him with joy, as the companion of his labours, 
revoked the order he had formerly given respecting him, and 
recommended him to the churches as a faithful minister. 
Thus much may be inferred from the following passage in 
his epistle to the Colossians : " Aristarchus, my fellow- 
prisoner, saluteth you, and 3Iarcus, sister's son to Barna- 
bas, toucliing whom ye received commandments: if he 
come unto you, receive him." Col. iv. 10. 

Thus the sincere followers of Christ are ever anxious to 
repair their involuntary faults ; — faults which we, as well 
as the apostles, are always exposed to the commission of, 
and whieh should constrain us to say, with St. Paul, 
" Xow we know " things and persons " in part." This 
imperfection in our knowledge will sometimes produce 
errors in our judgment, and those errors may probably 
influence our conduct. Jiut if, in these failings, there is 
no mixture of malice ; if Ave sin through ignorance, and 
in the integrity of our hearts, Ciod imputes not to us 
those errors; provided we are always prepared, like St. 
Paul, to confess and repair them. To err is the lot of 
humanity ; obstinacy in error is the character of a demon : 
but humbly to acknowledge, and anxiously to repair, an 
error, is to exhibit a virtue more rare and valuable than 

N 5 



274 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

innocence itself, wlien accompanied with any degree of 
conceit^and pride. 

They who give the portraits of legendary saints gene- 
rally paint them without a single failing ; but they who 
wish faithfully to imitate the sacred authors are obliged 
to employ shades, as well as lights, even in their most 
celebrated pieces. If this part of the portrait of St. Paul 
should not appear brilliant, it will serve, at least, to mani- 
fest the reality of the original, the liberality of the apostle, 
and the fidelity of the painter. 



TRAIT XIII. 

HIS DETESTATION OP PART^ SPIRIT AND DIVISIONS. 

"While the spirit of the world is confessedly a spirit of 
particular interest, pride, and division, the spirit of true 
religion is manifested, among its sincere professors, as a 
spirit of concord, humility, and brotherly love. The true 
minister, animated in an especial manner by this divine 
spirit, losing sight of his own reputation and honour, is 
unweariedly engaged in seeking the glory of God and the 
edification of his neighbour. Perfectly satisfied with the 
loAvest place, and distinguished as much by condescension 
to his brethren as by respect to his superiors, he is ever on 
his guard against that spirit of party which is continually 
seeking to disturb the union of the church, whether it be 
by too great a fondness for particular customs, by an obsti- 
nate zeal for any system of doctrines, or by too passionate 
an attachment to some eminent teacher. 

Without persecuting those who are led by so dangerous 
a spirit, the good pastor employs every efibrt to re-unit» 
them under the great Head of the church. Arguing 
against the folly of such as are ready to separate them- 
selves from the company of their brethren, he takes up the 
language of St. Paul, and says, " O foolish " Christians, 
" who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the 
truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently 
set forth, crucified among you ? Are ye so foolish ? hav- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 2/5 

incf begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the 
flesh?" Gal. iii. 1, 3. "Ye have" indeed "been called 
unto liberty : only use not liberty as an occasion to the 
flesh, but Ijy love serve one another. For all the law is 
fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one ano- 
ther, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 
Xow the works of the flesh are manifest ;" among which 
are these, " hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, 
seditions, and heresies : of the which I tell you before, as 
I have also told you in time past, that they which do such 
things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the 
fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentle- 
ness, faith, meekness, temperance. If we live in the 
Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous 
of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one ano- 
ther." Gal. v. 13 — 26. " There is one body, and one Spirit, 
even as ye are called in one hope of your calling ; one Lord, 
one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is 
above all, and through all, and in you all. Endeavour," 
theret'orc, '' to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of 
peace." Kph. iv. 3 — 6. 

AVlicn the people seek to honour a true minister by 
placing him at the head of any party in the church, he 
ret'ijsfs the proficred dignity with an humble and holy 
indi<j,iKition. llis soul is constantly penetrated with those 
sentinii'iits under the influence of which the apostle Paul 
thus nobly expressed himself: " I seek not mine own 
profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." 
1 Oir. X. 33. " 1 Ijcseech you, brethren, by the name of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, 
and that theru be no divisions among you ; but that ye be 
perfectly joined togctlicr in the same mind. For it hath 
been declared unto me, tliat there are contentions among 
you ;" and " that every one of you saith, I am of Paul ; 
and I of ApoUos ; and I of Cephas ; and I of Clirist." 
But '' is Christ divided ? was Paul crucified for you ? or 
were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" 1 Cor. i. 10 — 13. 
" Who is Paul, but a minister by whom ye believed ? 
Therefore let no man glory in men, whether Paul, or 



270 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

Apollos, or Cephas;" (1 Cor. iii. 5, 21, 22;) but rather 
in " our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in 
heaven and earth is named." Eph. iii. 14, 15. 

By such exhortations it is, and by maintaining, at the 
same time, a conduct conformable to the nature of such 
exhortations, that every faithful minister endeavours to 
engage Christians of all denominations to walk together 
" in love, as Christ also walked," (Eph. v. 2,) " proving 
what is acceptable unto the Lord," (Eph. v. 10,) and 
" submitting one to another in the fear of God," (Eph. v. 
21,) till the arrival of that promised period, when the 
whole company of the faithful shall be of one heart and 
one mind. 

But after all these exertions for the extirpation of a 
sectarian spirit from the church, they who content them- 
selves with the exterior of Christianity, as the pharisees 
were contented with the ceremonies of the Mosaic wor- 
ship, will, sooner or later, accuse every evangelical pastor 
of attempting to form a particular sect. When modern 
pharisees observe the strict union which reigns among true 
believers, — a union which every faithful minister labours to 
establish among his people, as well by example as by pre- 
cept ; when they behold penitent sinners deeply sensible of 
their guilt, and frequently assembling together for the pur- 
pose of imploring the blessings of " wisdom, righteousness, 
sanctification, and redemption ;" they immediately take 
the alarm, and cry out, " These men do exceedingly trouble 
our city, teaching customs, which are not laAvful for us to 
receive," and maintaining such a conduct as is most incon- 
venient for us to follow. Acts xvi. 20, 21. 

Happy are those cities in which the minister of Christ 
is able to discover a Nicodemus, a Gamaliel, or some 
worshippers possessed of as much candour as the Jews 
of Rome, who desired to hear what the persecuted Paul 
had to offer in behalf of that newly-risen sect which 
was " every where spoken against." Acts xxviii. 22. Till 
this amiable candour shall universally prevail among the 
nominal members of the church, true Christianity, even in 
the centre of Christendom, will always find perverse con- 
tradiction, and sometimes cruel persecution. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAIL. 277 

TRAIT Xir 

HIS REJECTION OF PRAISE. 

The minister of the present day labours chiefly with a 
view to his o^^ti advantage and honour. He endeavours 
to please, that he may be admired of men. " He loves the 
chief seats in synagogues," public greetings, and honour- 
able titles ; (]Matt. xxiii. 6, 7;) thus tacitly challenging, 
by his unreasonable pretensions to the respect and homage 
of men, a part of that glory which is due to God alone. 

A totally different character is maintained by the true 
minister. His discourses, his actions, his look, his deport- 
ment, all agree to say, " Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, 
but imto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy 
truth's sake." Psalm cxv. 1. If the arm of the Omnipotent 
enables him to perform any extraordinary work, which the 
multitude do not immediately refer to the " Author of 
every good and perfect gift," he cries out, with St. Peter, 
" Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own 
power or holiness "' we had performed wluit appears to 
excite your astonishment ? " The God of our fathers hath," 
upon this occasion, " glorified his Son Jesus : and the 
faith which is by him " hath effected this extraordinary 
work in the presence of you all. Acts iii. 12, 13, ]('). On 
all occasions, ho can say, with the great apostle, " Do I 
seek to jtlease men ? If I yet pleased men," unless for 
their edification, '' I should not be the servant of Christ." 
(lai. i. 10. '• AVith me it is a very small thing that I 
should be judged of you, or of man's judgment." I Cor. 
iv. 3. " But as we were allowed of God to be put in 
trust with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing 
men, but God, who trieth our hearts. Neither at any time 
used we flattering words, as ye know : nor of men sought 
we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others." 1 Thess. ii. 
4, (). By such a conduct he distinguishes himself as a 
faithful ambassador of the blessed Jesus, who expressed 
himself in the following lowly terms to those who had 
reproached him with a spirit of self-exaltation : — " I do 



278 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I 
speak th^se things. I seek not mine own glory : there is 
one that seeketh and judgeth. If I honour myself, my 
honour is nothing : it is my Father that honoureth me ; of 
whom ye say, that he is your God." John viii. 28, 50, 54. 

There may he peculiar cases, in which a ministering 
servant of God may be allowed to call upon Christians for 
a public testimony of their approbation ; and when this is 
refused, he is justified in modestly calling their attention 
to every past proof of his integrity and zeal. Thus St. 
Paul, as a proper means of maintaining his authority 
among the Corinthians, who had manifested an unjust par- 
tiality toward teachers of a very inferior order, entered 
into a long detail of those revelations and labours which 
gave him a more than ordinary claim to the respect of 
every church. But whenever he commended himself, he 
did it with the utmost reluctance, as one constrained by 
the peculiarity of his circumstances to act in immediate 
contrariety to his real disposition. Hence, when he 
recounts the particular favours with .which God had 
honoured him, he speaks in the third person, as of another 
man. " Of such a one will I glory ; yet of myself I will 
not glory, but in mine infirmities." 2 Cor. xii. 5. " For 
we dare not make ourselves of the number of those who 
commend themselves, measuring themselves by them- 
selves," without any reference to the excellent graces and 
endowments of others. " But he that glorieth, let him 
glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth him- 
self is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth." 
2 Cor. X. 12, 17, 18. 

Nothing affords greater satisfaction to false apostles than 
commendation and praise ; while the true minister shrinks 
with horror from those very honours which they assume 
all the forms of Proteus to obtain. When the multitude, 
led by their admiration of a faithful preacher, follow him 
with unsuitable expressions of applause, he meets them 
with unfeigned indignation, arrests their impious plaudits, 
and rejects their idolatrous adulations, crying out with St. 
Paul, " Sirs ! why do ye these things ? we also are men 
of like passions with you, and preach unto you, that ye 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 279 

should turn from these --anitles unto the living God." 
Acts xiv. 15. AVe are neither "the way, the truth," 
nor '• the life ;" but we point you to that way which the 
truth has discovered, and through which eternal life may 
be obtained, entreating you to walk therein with all sim- 
plicity and meekness. And remember, that instead of 
affectine in our discourses that vain wisdom which the 
world so passionately admires, we faitlifully proclaim 
Christ ; and, to humble us the more before God and man, 
^ Ave preach Christ crucified." 1 Cor. i. 23. 

By this humble carriage the ministering disciples of 
Christ are principally known. By this they copy the 
amiable example of John the baptist, who cheerfully 
humbled himself, that Christ might be exalted, crying out 
in the lanj^uaLce of that self-renouncing teacher, " Behold 
the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world ! 
There standeth one among you, whom ye know not, 
whose shoe's latchet we are not -worthy to unloose. AVe 
baptize with water ; but he baptizeth with the Holy 
Ghost." Beware then of entertaining too high an idea 
of our ministrv ; and remember, that " he must increase" 
in your estimation, " but Ave must decrease." John i. i2(3, 
'.'>'.') ; iii. iiO. 

After beholding John tlie baptist, Avho was accounted 
greater than any of the prophets, abasing himself in the 
jncsciuc (if Clirist ; and after hearing .St. Paul, avIio Avas 
far superior to the bajttist, exclaiming in the humility of 
his soul, "I live not, but Clirist livcth in me ;" how can 
AV(^ sutHciently express our astonishment at the conduct 
of those titular a]»ostlos, avIio cither set up a vain philo- 
so[)hy in the place of Christ, or employ the cross of their 
Lord .'US a kind of pedestal for the support of those 
splendid monuments by which their ])ride is endeavouring 
to jiei-petuatc the memory of their elocjueiiee. Slf-con- 
eeited orators I When shall we rank you Avith the faithful 
ministers of the humble Jesus { AVhen shall Ave behold 
the character you have assumed, and the conduct you 
maintain, sAvei>tly harmonizing Avith each other ? AVhcn 
shall Ave hear you addressing your flocks Avith the un- 
atfectcd simplicity and condescension of the great apostle? — 



280 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

" We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord ; 
and," far firom elevating ourselves above you, on account 
of the commission we have received, " ourselves your 
servants for Jesus' sake." 2 Cor. iv. 5. Then we might 
with propriety salute you, as humble imitators of St. Paul, 
as zealous ministers of the gospel, and as faithful servants 
of that condescending Saviour, who " came not to be 
ministered unto, but to minister." Matt. xx. 28. 



TRAIT XV 

HIS UNIVERSAL LOVE. 

True Christians are distinguished from Jews, Ma- 
hometans, and all other worshippers, by that spirit 
of universal love, which is the chief ornament and 
glory of their profession; but among evangelical pas- 
tors, this holy disposition appears in a more eminent 
degree. They feel for the inconsiderate and the sinful 
that tender compassion of which Christ has left us an 
example. Their conduct answers to that beautiful 
description of charit}'-, with which St. Paul presented the 
Corinthian church, and which may be considered as an 
emblematical representation of his own character from the 
time of his conversion to the Christian faith. Universal 
love is that invigorating sap, which, passing from the 
" true vine " into its several branches, renders them fruit- 
ful in every good work. But this divine principle 
circulates through chosen ministers with peculiar force, 
and in more than ordinary abundance, as so many prin- 
cipal boughs, by which a communication is opened between 
the root and the lesser branches. 

The faithful pastor entertains an affecting remembrance 
of those benevolent expressions which the good Shepherd 
addressed to the apostle Peter, and in the person of that 
apostle to all his successors in the ministry, repeating them 
even to the third time : " Lovest thou me ? Feed my sheep." 
As though he had said, "The greatest proof you can 
possibly give of your unfeigned attachment to me is, to 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 281 

cherish the souls which I have redeemed, and to make 
them the objects of your tenderest regard." Such is the 
affectionate precept which every faithful minister has 
received together with his sacred commission, and to 
which he yields a more ready and cheerful obedience, 
from a firm dependence upon the following solemn decla- 
ration of his gracious Master : " When the Son of man 
shall come in his glory, he shall say " to all the children 
of love, '• Verily I say unto you. Inasmuch as ye have 
done good unto one of the least of these my brethren," 
whether their wants were corporeal or spiritual, " ye have 
done it unto me." 3Iatt. xxv. 31, 40, 

The love of the evangelical pastor, like that of St. Paul, 
is unbounded : " God," saith that charitable apostle, " will 
have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge 
of the truth. I exhort therefore, that supplications, 
prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for 
all men ; for this is good and acceptable in the sight of 
God our Saviour." 1 Tim. ii. 1 — 4. But, not content with 
submitting to the exhortation of St. Paul, Avith respect to 
the duty of universal prayer, he endeavours to copy the- 
example of that apostle, in labouring for the salvation of all 
men : '• I am made all things to all men, that I might by all 
means save some." 1 Vow ix. 22. Being by regeneration 
" a partaker of the divine nature," (2 lYter i. 4,) he bears 
a lovely, though humble, resemblance to his heavenly 
Parent, wliose chief perfection is love. Like the high 
priest of his profession, he breathes nothing but charity; 
and like the Father of lights, he makes the sun of his 
beneficence to rise upon all men. To describe this lesser 
sun in its unlimited course, and to point out the admira- 
ble variety with which it distributes its light and its heat, 
is to delineate with precision the character of a faithful 
pastor. 



282 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

TRAIT XYI. 

HIS PARTICULAR LOVE TO THE FAITHFUL. 

The universal love of tlie true minister manifests itself 
in a particular manner, according to the different situa- 
tions of those who are the objects of it. "When he finds 
the whole conduct of professing Christians conformable to 
the nature of their sacred profession, " he loves them with 
a pure heart fervently;" 1 Peter i. 22; and, giving way 
to the eifusions of a holy joy, he expresses his affec- 
tion in words like these : " Brethren, we are comforted 
over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith : 
for now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord." And 
" what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the 
joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before God ? " 
1 Thess. iii. 7 — 9. In these expressions of St. Paul, an 
astonishing degree of affection is discovered. " Now we 
live :" as though he had said, " We have a twofold life, 
—the principal life, which we receive immediately from 
Christ, and an accessory life, which we derive from his 
members, through the medium of brotherly love. And so 
deeply are we interested in the concerns of our brethren, 
that we are sensibly affected by the variations they expe- 
rience in their spiritual state, through the power of that 
Christian sympathy which we are unable to describe. 
Thus, when sin has detached any of our brethren from 
Christ, and separated them from the body of the faithful, 
we are penetrated with the most sincere distress; and, 
on the contrary, whenever they become more affection- 
ately connected with us, and more intimately united to 
Christ, our common Head, our spirits are then sensibly 
refreshed, and invigorated with new degrees of life and joy." 
Reader, dost thou understand this language? Hast 
thou felt the power of this Christian sympathy ? Or, has 
thy faith never yet produced these genuine sentiments of 
brotherly love ? Then thou hast spoken as a person 
equally destitute of sensibility and truth, whenever thou 
hast dared to say, " I believe in the communion of saints." 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 283 

TRAIT XYII. 

HIS LOVE TO THOSE WHOSE FAITH WAS WAVERING. 

When a minister, after having been made instrumental 
in the conversion of sinners, perceives their faith decreas- 
ing, and their love growing cold, he feels for them what 
the Redeemer felt when he wept over Jerusalem. Not 
less concerned for the remissness of his believing hearers, 
than St. Paul was distressed by the instability of his Gala- 
tian and Corinthian converts, he pleads with them in the 
same affectionate terms : " Ye know," ye who are the 
seals of my ministry, " how I preached the gospel unto 
you at the first. And ye despised me not, but received 
me as an angel of God. Where is then the blessedness 
ye spake of? for I bear you record, that if it had been 
possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and 
have given them to me. Am I therefore become your 
enemy, because I tell you the truth ? My little children, 
of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed 
in you," I tell you with sorrow, that after all my con- 
fidence in you, " I stand in doubt of you." Gal. iv. 
13 — 20, "Our mouth is open unto you, our heart is 
enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are strait- 
ened in your own bowels. iVow for a recompence in the 
same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. 
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers : for 
what felloAvsliip hath righteousness Avith unrighteousness ? 
or Avhat part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye sepa- 
r;ite, saith the Lord, and toucli not the unclean thing ; 
and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and 
ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord 
Alini^rhty. We beseech you," therefore, brethren, "that 
ye receive not the grace of God in vain." 2 Cor. vi. 

This language of the Cliristian pastor is almost unintel- 
ligible to the minister who is merely of man s appointing. 
Having never converted a single soul to Christ, he has 
neither spiritual son nor daughter, and is entirely unac- 



284 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

quainted with that painful travail which is mentioned by 
St. Paul^ His bowels are straitened toward Christ and 
his members ; and, having closely united himself to the 
men of the world, he considers the assembly of the faith- 
ful as a company of ignorant enthusiasts. But, notwith- 
standing the spiritual insensibility of these ill-instructed 
teachers, who never studied in the school of Christ, there 
is no other token by which either sincere Christians or 
true ministers can be discerned, except that fervent love 
which the Galatians entertained for St. Paul before their 
falling away, and which that apostle ever continued to 
entertain for them. " By this," saith our Lord, " shall all 
men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to 
another." John xiii. 35. 



TEAIT XVIII. 

HIS LOVE TO HLS COUNTRYMEN AND HIS ENEMIES. 

St. Paul, like his rejected Master, was persecuted even 
to death by the Jews, his countrymen, while he generously 
exposed himself to innumerable hardships, in labouring 
for their good. These furious devotees, inspired with 
envy, revenge, and a persecuting zeal, hunted this apostle 
from place to place, as a public pest. And when the gen- 
tiles, on a certain occasion, had rescued him out of their 
hands, forty of the most hardened among them, engaged 
themselves by an oath, neither to eat nor drink, till they 
had assassinated him. But notwithstanding the most 
indubitable proofs of their bloody disposition toward him, 
his fervent charity threw a veil over their cruelty, and 
made him wish to die for his persecutors : " I declare," 
saith he, " the truth in Christ, my conscience also bearing 
me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness 
and continual sorrow in my heart : for I could wish that 
myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my 
kinsmen according to the flesh." Rom. ix. ] — 3. As 
though he should say, " ' It is written, Cursed is every 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 285 

one that hangeth on a tree ; ' (Gal. iii. 13 ;) thus Christ 
himself became accursed for us ; and I also would lay- 
down my life for my brethren, ' that I may have fellow- 
ship with him in his sufferings, being made conformable 
unto his death,' (Philip, iii. 10,) ' and fill up that which 
is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for his 
body's sake, which is the church.' " Col. i. 24. It is by 
expressions so charitable, and by actions which demon- 
strate the sincerity of those expressions, that Christians 
avenge themselves of their enemies, and work upon the 
hearts of their countrymen. 

If the sentiments of every sincere disciple of Christ are 
expressed in the preceding language of St. Paul, how 
deplorable then must be the state of those Christians 
whose anxiety, either for their own salvation, or for that 
of their nearest relations, bears no proportion to that 
eager concern which this apostle manifested for the salva- 
tion of his bitterest persecutors ! And if good pastors feel 
so ardent a desire to behold all men actuated by the spirit 
of Christ, without excepting even their most malicious 
enemies, what shall we say to those ministers who never 
shed a single tear, nor ever breathed one ardent prayer, 
for the conversion of their parishioners, their friends, or 
their families ? 



TRAIT XIX. 

niS LOVE TO THOSE WHOM HE KNEW ONLY BY REPORT. 

Though the true minister takes a peculiar interest in 
every thing that concerns the salvation of his countrymen, 
yet his Christian benevolence is far from beinf; confined 
withm the narrow limits of a particular country. He 
desires to bear the name of his Saviour to the ends of the 
earth ; and if he is not able to do this by his personal 
addresses, he Avill do it, at least, by his earnest wishes and 
his constant prayers. If Providence has not yet fixed him 
in a particular church, he writes, in the manner of St. 
Paul, to the inhabitants of the most distant countries ; 



286 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

" I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that I" con- 
sider myself as " a debtor both to the Greeks and to the 
barbarians, both to the wise and the unwise. And, as 
much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you 
that are at Rome," where error and impiety have fixed 
their throne. " For I am not ashamed of the gospel of 
Christ ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every 
one that believeth," Rom. i. 13 — 16. If he writes to 
stranger-converts, whose faith is publicly spoken of in the 
world, he declares his sincere attachment to them, and his 
longing desire to afibrd them every spiritual assistance, in 
terms like these : " God is my witness, whom I serve with 
my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I 
make mention of you always in my prayers ; making 
request, if by any means I might have a prosperous jour- 
ney by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to 
see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, 
to the end ye may be established ; that is, that I may be 
comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of 
you and me." Rom. i. 9 — 12. 

If the apostle Paul, when he knew the Romans no 
otherwise than by report, expressed so ardent a desire to 
see them, for the sole purpose of inciting them to seek 
after higher degrees of faith and piety, what must be the 
disposition of those ministers who feel no desires of this 
nature even for the members of their own flock ? And in 
how great an error are those Christians who frequently 
assemble together, either in their own houses, or in more 
public places, for the very purpose of mutually forgetting 
the restraints of piety, losing their time in frivolous con- 
versation, and debasing their minds by puerile amuse- 
ments ! Further : if the new nature of the regenerate 
excites in them that lively concern for the salvation of 
their neighbours, which St. Paul expressed for the salvar 
tion of those who inhabited the remotest parts of the 
earth, is it becoming in the faithful to stifle the motions 
of that commendable zeal which Christian charity alone 
can inspire ? And if there are to be found among us dig- 
nified teachers who, far from seconding a zeal so necessary 
in our day, are rather disposed to extinguish the first 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 287 

gparks of it, uhererer they are discernible ; whom may 
they he said to take for their model, — Paul the apostle, or 
Saul the pharisee ? Doubtless Saul, the agent of a bigoted 
sect, and the open persecutor of the faithful. 



TRAIT XX. 

HIS CHARITY TOWARD THE POOR IN GIVING OR PROCUR- 
ING FOR THEM TEMPORAL RELIEF. 

Though our Lord came principally to save the souls 
of sinners, yet he was by no means unmindful of their 
bodies. " He went about doing good," in the most 
imlimited sense ; daily relieving, with equal cai-e, the cor- 
poreal and spiritual maladies of the people. Thus, when 
he had distributed the word of God to those who were 
hungering and thirsting after righteousness, he expressed 
an anxious concern for the support of those among his 
followers who were sensible of no other wants, except 
such as were of a temporal nature : " I have compassion 
on the multitude, because they have now been with me 
three days, and have nothing to eat ;" and, not content 
with barely expressing his concern for their corporeal 
necessities, he wrought an astonishing miracle for their 
immediate relief Mark viii. 2. The true minister cheer- 
fully imitates the conduct of his gracious Master, by a 
strict and atfectionate attention to the spiritual and tem- 
poral wants of his people. " James, Cephas, and John," 
saith St. Paul, " gave to me and Barnabas the right hand 
of fellowship, that we should go unto the heathen : only 
they would that we should remember the poor ; the same 
which 1 also was forward to do." Gal. ii. 9, 10. 

When the liberality of St. Paul toward his necessitous 
brethren was restrained by his own excessive indigence, 
he employed the most effectual means to procure for them 
the generous benefactions of their Avcalthier companions 
in the faith of the gospel. The following passages, extracted 
from his epistles, may serve as sufficient proofs of this : — 



28ff PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

« Brethren," I cannot but inform you " of the grace of 
God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia ; how that 
in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and 
their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their 
liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and 
beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 
praying us with much entreaty that we would receive 
the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the minister- 
ing to the saints. Therefore, as ye abound in faith, in 
utterance, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love 
to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. I speak by 
occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the 
sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your 
sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might 
be rich. Wherefore show ye before the churches the 
proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf." 
2 Cor. viii. 1—9, 24. 

Not yet content with these earnest solicitations in 
behalf of the poor, the apostle thus proceeds to enforce 
his importunities : " I thought it necessary to exhort the 
brethren, that they should go before unto you, and make 
up beforehand your bounty, that the same might be ready, 
as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness. But 
this I say, He that soweth sparingly shall reap also spar- 
ingly; and he that soweth bountifully shall reap also 
bountifully. God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is 
able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always 
having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every 
good work : as it is written. He hath dispersed abroad, he 
hath given to the poor, his righteousness remaineth for 
ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both 
minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, 
and increase the fruits of your righteousness;" that ye 
may be " enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, 
which causes through us thanksgiving to God. For the 
administration of this service not only supplieth the want 
of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings 
unto God ; while by the experiment of this ministration 
they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 280 

gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto 
them, and unto all men." 2 Cor. ix. 5 — 13. Who could 
possibly refuse any thing to a godly minister pleading the 
cause of the poor, with all this apostolic dignity, simplicity, 
and zeal ? 

After having obtained alms for the poor, the apostle 
Paul cautiously avoided all suspicion of appropriating any 
part of them to the relief of his own necessities, and was 
equally careful that they Avere never misapplied through 
the unfaithfulness of those who were appointed to dis- 
tribute them. " One of our brethren," adds the apostle, 
'• chosen of the churches, accompanies us in our journey 
with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory 
of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind : 
avoidinof this, that no man should blame us in this abun- 
dance which is administered by us : providing for honest 
things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the 
sight of men." 2 Cor. viii. 19 — 21. Mentioning again his 
favourite employment, he writes to a distant church : 
'• Now I go imto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. 
For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to 
make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are 
at Jerusalem. When tlierefore I have performed this, 
and haA'e sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you 
into Spain. 2s'ow I beseech you, brethren, that ye strive 
together in your prayers for me, that I may be delivered 
from them that do not believe in Judea ; and that the 
siTvice which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of 
the saints." Rom. xv. 2.") — 31. 

Tlius to wait upon the churches, and, particularly, thus 
to attend upon the poor, is to merit the name of a faithful 
minister. 



Vol. 



o 



290 PORTRAIT OP flT. PAUL. 



TRAIT XXI. 

HIS CHARITY TOWARD SINNERS IN OFFERING THEM EVERY 
SPIRITUAL ASSISTANCE. 

To solicit alms for those who are destitute of food and 
raiment, and at the same time to withhold the word of 
God from those " who hunger and thirst after righteous- 
ness," is to manifest an unhappy inconsistency of cha- 
racter. Such inconsistencies, however, are frequently 
discoverable, even among pastors, who pique themselves 
upon their disposition to works of benevolence and 
charity. 

Man has an immortal soul. This soul, which is properly 
himself, is rendered by disobedience so totally ignorant and so 
completely miserable, that she seeks to enrich herself with 
the vanities of the world, and to gratify her inclinations with 
the pollutions of sin. In pity to the soul in this state of 
wretchedness, the truths of the gospel are proposed by a 
compassionate God, as a sacred remedy adapted to the 
nature of her innumerable wants ; they illumine the blind 
with spiritual light and knowledge ; they clothe the naked 
with the robe of righteousness ; they feed the hungry ; 
they heal the sick ; they burst the captive's bands ; they 
give eternal life to those who are dead in trespasses and 
sin ; in a word, they make us partakers of the great sal- 
vation of God. To publish this gospel, then, or to procure 
the preaching of it to sinners, is undoubtedly to give them 
an important proof of the most excellent charity ; while, 
on the other hand, to refuse them the word of God, or to 
avoid any occasion of administering it, is absolutely or 
occasionally to deny them those spiritual alms and assist- 
ances which the Saviour of the world has appointed for 
their daily relief. The pastor who acts in this unbecoming 
manner resembles a physician, or an almoner, who, 
having received a charge from his prince to supply the 
poor with food, or the sick with medicine, not only refuses 
to acquit himself of his acknowledged duty with diligence 
and impartiality, but strenuously opposes those who endea- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 291 

vour to supply his lack of service. Such a minister seems 
to maintain a system as absurd and cruel as would be that 
of either of those characters just alluded to, who should 
pretend that no one had authority to administer alms to 
the poor, or medicine to the sick, except such as received 
pensions' from the prince for that purpose; and that even 
these would act in a disorderly manner, if they should dare 
to distribute alms or remedies except on the sabbath-day, 
and then only during particular hours. 

So long as any pastor seeks his own glory, so long he 
will be subject to some degree of that contemptible 
jealousy, which will not suffer him to behold with plea- 
sure the more abundant and successful labours of his 
brethren. But the faithful minister of Christ, whose 
chief desire is the prosperity of the church, is actuated by 
a totally different spirit. Though he has a peculiar satis- 
faction in beholding the success of his own spiritual 
labours; yet, when he hears the gospel published by 
others, and even by such as are apparently influenced by 
unworthy motives, he greatly rejoices in their success. 
His charity, which neither envies another's prosperity, nor 
seeks his own particular advantage, expresses itself upon 
so delicate a subject in the language of St. Paul: "Some 
indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife, supposing 
to add affliction to my bonds. What then? notwith- 
standing every way, whether in pretence or in truth, 
Christ is preached ; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and I 
will rejoice." Phil. i. 15 — 18. 

Influenced by envy, or rendered insensible by their 
lukewarmness, worldly ministers are absolute strangers to 
the generous pleasure here mentioned by the apostle; nor 
have they the least idea of acting in a criminal manner, 
when they will not permit the truths of the gospel to 
be freely declared by all who are disposed to announce 
thf ra. 

The good pastor, by whatever name he may be distin- 
guished, lives only to publish the gospel, and to convert 
the souls committed to his charge ; to restrain him then 
from attending to these important labours is to force him 
aside from the true end of his calling, and must appear to 

o2 



292 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

every enlightened mind a greater act of cruelty, than to 
withhpld the rich from giving alms, or to detain an expert 
swimmer from saving his drowning brethren. If such a 
pastor, in any period of his life, has acted like a monopo- 
list of the gospel, and, by denying to the " poor in spirit^' 
what was freely given for their support, has caused in any 
place a "famine of the word ;" he believes himself abun- 
dantly more culpable than those avaricious merchants who, 
by forming a monopoly of grain in the East Indies, caused 
a grievous famine in that country, by which an innumer- 
able multitude of its inhabitants perished. Those covetous 
men denied to the bodies of their neighbours a perishable 
nourishment ; but he has withheld from the souls of his 
brethren that precious manna which might have preserved 
them to everlasting life. Such was the crime of those 
whom our Lord addressed in the following words : — 
" Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye 
shut up the kingdom, of heaven against men ; for ye 
neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are 
entering to go in." Matt, xxiii. 13. Observe St. Paul's 
sentiments of such characters. With respect to those Jews, 
" who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, 
and have persecuted us ; they please not God, and are 
contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the gentiles, 
that they might be saved," filling up by this means the 
measure of their sin ; " for the wrath is come upon them 
to the uttermost." 1 Thess. ii. 15, 16. 

If the character which the apostle here describes was 
odious in a Jew, without doubt it is more so in a Christian, 
and still doubly detestable in a minister of the gospel, 
vrhose heart should continually be animated with a fervent 
desire for the conversion of sinners, and the salvation of 
all mankind. Was it possible for those who are distin- 
guished by this trait of the character of antichrist to 
discover the turpitude of their own conduct, they would 
acknowledge themselves abundantly more guilty than the 
robber who should force away from a famished pauper the 
morsel of bread he had begged in his distress. They 
would pronounce, without any hesitation, that the foster* 
mother who neglects the infant she has undertaken to 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 293 

cherish, and prevents her charitable neighbours from 
affording it any nourishment, is still more excusable than 
the pastor who, not content with refusing to feed the 
flock of Christ, endeavours to scatter his sheep wherever 
ttey are foimd feeding, seeking out accusations against 
those who have led them to a refreshing pasture, and 
studnng by every means to withdraAv the gospel from 
those penitent sinners who, " as new born babes, desire 
the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow 
thereby." 1 Peter ii. 2. 

Happy will be the age in which Christian pastors shall 
no lono^er be found, like the scribes in the days of St. 
Paul, labouring to fill up the measure of their iniquities. 
Then truth and piety shall no longer be restrained by the 
fetters of prejudice and bigotry. Then the faithful shall 
worship God and publish the gospel, with as much 
freedom as the dissipated indulge themselves in the 
sports of the age, or the malevolent in slandering their 
neighbours. 



TRAIT XXII. 

THE ENGAaiNQ CONDESCENSION OP HIS HUMBLE CHARITY. 

Charity avoids all appearance of haughtiness, and is 
never seen to act in an unbecoming manner. On the 
contrary, full of courtesy, she fears lest she should give 
offence to any, and, full of benevolence, she labours for 
tlie edification of all. Hence the charitable pastor cannot 
act otlierwise than with a holy condescension toward all 
men, and especially toward the ignorant and poor, with 
whom the ministers of the present age will scarcely deign 
to converse ; and, without ever slipping his foot into the 
pit of error, he sometimes approaches it with a happy 
mixture of compassion and prudence, for the relief of 
those who are unable to extricate themselves fi-om it. 
" Though I am free from all men," writes St. Paul, " yet I 
have made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the 



294 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

more. Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might 
gain ^the Jews ; to them that are without law, as without 
law, that I might gain them that are without " a written 
" law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain 
the weak. I am made all things to all men, that I migitt 
by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's 
sake." 1 Cor. ix. 19—23. " AU things are lawful for me," 
continues he, " but all things are not expedient ; all things 
are lawftd for me, but all things edify not." 1 Cor. x. 23. 
" When ye sin against the brethren " by wounding " their 
weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if 
meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while 
the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend." 
1 Cor. viii. 12, 13. " Whether therefore ye eat or drink, 
or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Even 
as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own 
profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." 
1 Cor. X. 31, 33. 

Behold that sweet prudence of charity which our Lord 
recommended to his disciples when he pointed out the 
folly of putting " new wine " into such bottles as were 
unable to resist the force of the fermenting liquor : and 
of this affectionate discretion he himself gave them a 
striking example when he said, " I have many things to 
say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." If this con- 
descending carriage was lovely in the blessed Jesus, it will 
ever appear amiable in his humble imitators, who can say, 
with the apostle Paul, to the weaker members of the 
church, "We have fed you with milk, and not with 
meat; for hitherto ye were not able to bear it." 1 Cor. 
iii. 2. 

Special care is, however, to be taken that this charitable 
condescension may never betray the interests of truth and 
virtue. " Abstain," saith St. Paul, " from all appearance 
of evil." 1 Thess. v. 22. " Be ye followers of me, even as 
I also am of Christ." 1 Cor. xi. 1. For "herein do I 
exercise myself to have always a conscience void of offence 
toward God and toward men." Acts xxiv. 16. And "our 
rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in 
simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 295 

but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation 
in the world, and more abundantly to you-Avard," among 
whom we have labom-ed in the Gospel. 2 Cor. i. 12. 

If tliere exist pastors who lack this condescension 
toward the poor, or who are destitute of that humble 
charity which can familiarize itself with the most ignorant, 
for their edification and comfort ; — if there are ministers 
to be found who are ever meanly complaisant to the rich, 
and who are void of holy resolution in the presence of the 
great, instead of conducting themselves Avith that min- 
gled humility and dignity which are suitable to the charac- 
ter they sustain ; — may the one and the other be con- 
vinced of the grievous error into which they are fallen, 
while they contemplate this opposite trait in the character 
of St. Paul ! 

Upon what consideration is founded the humiliating 
distinction which is generally made between the rich and 
the poor ? "Was Christ manifested in a state of earthly 
o-randeur ? Did he not chiefly associate with the poor ? 
Far from flattering the rich, did he not insinuate that they 
would with the utmost difficulty enter into the kingdom 
of God ? Did he not affirm, it were better for a man to 
be cast into the sea, with a mill-stone about his neck, than 
to oflend the poorest believer ? Did he not declare, that 
he Avould consider the regard shown to the meanest of his 
followers as though he himself had been the immediate 
object of it ? When St. James assures us that ■' he who 
converteth a sinner from the error of his way" performs 
the best of all possible good works, because, by prevent- 
ing a multitude of sins, he places the soul in the road to 
every virtue; can this declaration be supposed to lose any 
of its force when applied to the soul of a poor man ? Are 
not the lowest of men immortal as the most elevated? 
Did not Christ humble himself to the death of the cross 
for the poor, as Avell as the' rich ? " Hath not God chosen 
the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the king- 
dom ?" And, finally, were the angels less ready to convey 
the soul of perishing Lazarus to paradise than that of 
wealthy Abraham ? Perish, then, for ever that unchris- 
tian prejudice which dishonours the poor, nourishes the 



296 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

pride of the rich, and leads us to the violation of that great 
command by which we become as guilty as though we had 
transgressed the whole law, the spirit of which is love. 
And let us remember, it is only out of the ruins of so 
despicable a partiality that the engaging condescension, of 
which St. Paul has left us so lovely an example, can 
possibly be produced. 



TRAIT XXIII. 

HIS COURAGE IN DEFENCE OP OPPRESSED TRUTH. 

" Charity rejoiceth in the truth." 1 Cor. xiii. 6. These 
two amiable companions are closely united together, and 
mutually sustain each other. It is possible, however, 
when an error has the suffrages of many persons, respect- 
able on account of their wisdom, their age, their rank, 
their labours, or their piety, that a sincere Christian may 
be tempted to sacrifice truth to authority, or rather to a 
mistaken charity ; but the enlightened pastor, putting on 
the resolution of St. Paul, will never suffer himself to be 
imposed upon by the appearance either of persons or things ; 
and, though he should see himself standing alone on the 
side of evangelical truth, he will not fear, even singly, to 
act as its modest and zealous defender. 

In these circumstances a lukewarm minister loses all his 
courage. Behold his general plea for the pusillanimity of 
his conduct ! " I am alone, and what success can I expect 
in so diffiult an undertaking ? The partisans of this error 
are persons whom I both love and honour. Some of them 
have shown me great kindness, and others have sufficient 
credit to prejudice the world against me. Moreover, it 
would be looked upon as presumption in me, who am 
weaker than a reed, to oppose myself to a torrent which 
bears down the strongest pillars of the church." Such is 
the manner in which he apologizes for the timidity of his 
conduct in those situations where his love of truth is pub- 
licly called to the test ; not considering, that to reason thus 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 297 

is to forget at once the omnipotence of God, the force of 
tiu h, and the unspeakable worth of those souls which error 
mav poison and destroy. 

On the contrary, the faithful minister, who, on all occa- 
sions, rejoices in the truth, " conferring not with flesh and 
blood," courageously refuses to bear the yoke of any eiTor 
tliat must evidently be accompanied with evil consequences. 
In the most trying situations of this nature, he imitates 
the conduct of the great apostle, who, when he saw a 
shameful error making its way into the church, placed 
himself in the gap, and gave way to the emotions of his 
honest zeal, as related in the following passage : — " False 
brethren came in privily to spy out our Hberty which we 
have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bond- 
age. To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an 
hour ; that the truth of the gospel might continue with 
you." And " when Peter was come to Antioch, I with- 
stood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For 
before that certain came from James, he did eat with the 
gentiles : but when they were come, he withdrew and 
separated himself, fearing them which were of the circum- 
cision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with 
him ; insomuch that Barnabas also," under the specious 
pretence of not offending his neighbour, " was carried 
away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they 
walked not uprightJy according to the truth of the gospel, 
I said unto Peter before them all. If thou, being a Jew, 
livest after the manner of the gentiles, and not as do the 
T.ws, why compellest thou the gentiles to live as do the 
Jews?" (ial. ii. 4—14. 

This reasonable reprimand is perhaps one of the gi-eatest 
proofs which .St. Paul ever gave of the uprightness of his 
intention, and the steadiness of his resolution. 

Yi' men of integrity ! ye who have proved how much it 
costs to defend the rights of truth, when they stand op- 
[)osed to that deference which condescending love obliges us 
to sliow, in a thousand instances, to respectable authority; 
fon alone are able to make a proper judgment of the holy 
riolence which was exercised by St. Paul upon this occa- 
5ion. But whatever they may be called to endure in so 

5 



298 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

honourable a cause, happy are those Christians, and doubly 
happy those pastors, who have so great a love for truth, 
and so true a love for their brethren, that they are ready, at 
all times, with this faithful apostle, to sacrifice to the inter- 
ests of the gospel every inferior consideration, every servile 
fear, and every worldly hope. 



TRAIT XXIY 

HIS PRUDENCE IN FRUSTRATING THE DESIGNS OP HIS 

ENEMIES. 

There is no kind of calumny which the incredulous 
have not advanced, in order to render Christianity either 
odious or contemptible. According to the notions of 
these men, to adopt the maxims of evangelical patience 
argues a want of sensibility, and to regulate our conduct 
according to the dictates of Christian prudence is to act 
the hypocrite. What we have to say in this place will 
chiefly respect the latter charge. 

It has been asserted by modern infidels, that the gen- 
tleness and forbearance which the gospel requires of its 
professors must necessarily make them the dupes of de- 
signing men, and lead them unreluctantly into the snares 
of their persecutors. But to draw this inference from 
some few passages of scripture, understood in too literal 
a sense, is to set truth at variance with itself, merely 
for the purpose of charging Christians with all the evil 
which it is presumed they might have avoided by pru- 
dence, or have overcome by resolution. The example 
of our Lord, and that of St. Paul, might have rectified 
the ideas of cavillers upon this point. When Christ 
exhorted his disciples to be "harmless as doves," he ad- 
monished them at the same time to be "wise as ser- 
pents ;" and of this harmless wisdom he himself gave a 
striking example, when he was interrogated by the Jews 
respecting the lawfulness of paying tribute unto Caesar. 
Well acquainted with the different sentiments of that 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 299 

people with regard to the Roman yoke, without directly 
corabatin<y the prejudices of any party, he returned a 
satisfactory answer to all parties, by an inference drawn 
from the " image and superscription " borne upon their 
current coin: "Render therefore unto Cajsar the things 
that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are 
God's.' Matt. xxii. 21. 

The sincere Christian and the faithful minister have 
frequent occasion for this happy prudence, as well as St. 
Paul, who, more than once, employed it with success. 
The Jews, irritated against this apostle, sought occasion 
to destroy him, on account of the zeal with which he 
published the gospel among the gentiles. Hoping to 
soften the prejudices they entertained against his conduct, 
he recounted to them how Jesus, being raised from the 
dead, and appearing to him in an extraordinary manner, 
had expressly sent him to the gentiles ; (Acts xxii. 21 ;) 
when the Jews, more irritated than before, would have 
torn him in pieces, had he not been rescued out of their 
hands bv the Roman garrison. By this means Paul was 
preserved for a more peaceful hearing. And on the 
morrow, when he stood before the Jewish council, per- 
cei\'ing that the assembly was composed partly of sad- 
ducees, who say, " There is no resurrection, neither angel, 
nor spirit," and partly of pharisees, who believe equally 
in the existence of spirits, and the resurrection of the 
body, he immediately availed himself of this circumstance, 
and cried out, " Men and brethren, I am a pharisee, the 
son of a pharisee : of the hope and resurrection of the 
dead I am called in question." Acts xxiii. 6. As though 
he bad said, " The great cause of the violent persecution 
that is now raised against me is, that I preach Jesus and 
the resurrection. Our fathers, indeed, were not absolutely 
assured of a life to come ; but the important doctrine of 
the resurrection, and of the judgment that shall follow, is 
now demonstrated, since God has given an incontestable 
proof of it, in raising up his Son Jesus from the dead. 
And I myself have been an eye-^dtness of his resurrec- 
tion, to whom he has appeared two several times, once as 
I journeyed to Damascus, and afterwards as I prayed in 



300 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

the temple. But when I mentioned this second appear- 
ance of a risen Saviour, my incredulous accusers began 
vehemently to cry out, ' Away with such a fellow from the 
earth ! ' " By this just exposition of the fact, and by his 
prudent selection of the resurrection of Chrii?t from among 
the other great doctrines of Christianity, St. Paul happily 
caused a division to take place among his judges. 
The event answered his expectation : *' the scribes that 
were of the pharisees' part arose saying, We find no evil 
iu this man ; but if a spirit," that is, a man risen from the 
dead, " or an angel, hath spoken to him, let us not fight 
against God." Acts xxiii. 9. There is still another in- 
stance of the wisdom of the serpent reconciling itself with 
^he innocence of the dove in the conduct of this apostle, 
when, marking the disposition of his Athenian judges, he 
took advantage of their taste for novelty, by announcing 
to them " the unknown God," to whom they had already 
erected an altar. Acts xvii. 

This Christian prudence, equally distant from the dupli- 
city of hypocrites, and the stupidity of idiots, merits a 
place among the traits which characterize this great apos- 
tle, not only because it is worthy of our imitation, but also 
because it has been indirectly represented, by a modern 
Celsus, as mere cunning and artifice. The author here 
alluded to, who deserves rather to be called a great poet, 
than a faithful painter, having disfigured this trait of St 
Paul's character with a pencil dipped in the gall of preju- 
dice, we gladly take this occasion of setting forth the 
injustice of his imputations, so illiberally cast both upon 
Christianity itself, and the most eminent of its defenders. 
This witty philosopher, who has said so many good things 
against the spirit of persecution, never perceived that he 
himself was actuated by an intolerant spirit : so true it is, 
that the most sagacious are liable to be blinded by passion 
or prejudice. The same spirit of persecution which excited 
the Athenians to discountenance the justice of Aristides 
as a dangerous singularity, and to punish the piety of 
Socrates as a species of atheism, led the author of the 
Philosophical Dictionary to represent the prudence of St. 
Paul as the duplicity of an hypocrite. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 301 

Had this severe judge occupied the seat of Ananias, he 
miixlit, p«'rhaps, with an affected liberality, have overlooked 
tlio peculiarities of the apostle's creed ; but, in the end, 
his innate detestation of piety Avould have assisted him, 
according to the general custom of persecutors, to feign 
some just cause for treating him -with the utmost rigour. 
And this he has done in our day, as far as his circum- 
stances -NYould permit ; since, not being able to disgrace 
him by the hand of a public executioner, he has studied 
to do it with his pen, by ravishing from him, not only his 
reputation for extraordinary piety, but even his claim to 
common honesty. 

Persecutor, whoever thou art, be content that thy pre- 
decessors have taken away the lives of the righteous, and 
spare them what they prefer infinitely before life itself, — 
•• the testimony of a good conscience." 



TRAIT XXY 

Ills TENDERNESS TOWARD OTHERS, AND HIS SEYERITT 

TOW\RD HIMSELF. 

'\'ui>\r,u porfeitly insensible to the Avarm emotions of 
})rotliorIy love, the worldly j)astor frequently repeats, in 
his pul)lic discourses, those alfcctionate expressions which 
flow so (•(.r.lially from the lips of faithful ministers, " My 
dear brethren in Christ." These expressions from the 
j)uli)it are almost unavoi(lal)le upon some occasions; but, 
in g.-neral, they are to be regarded in no other light than 
the civil addresses of a haughty person, who concludes his 
epistles by assuring bis correspondents that he considers 
it an honour to suliseribe himself their obedient servant, 
r.n; while the worldly minister alVects a degree of benevo- 
lence which he cannot fel, the good i)ast()r, out of the 
n'.undan((> of a heart overflowing Avith Christian charity, 
adiliess..s his brethren with the utmost affection and 
regard, not only witliout any danger of feigning what he 
Jias not experienced, but even without a possibility of 



302 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

expressing the ardour of his brotherly love. His exhorta- 
tions to j;he faithful, like those of St. Paul, are seasoned 
with an unction of grace, and accompanied with a flow of 
tenderness, which frequently give them an astonishing 
effect upon his brethren, and which always evince the 
interest he takes in the concerns of the church. " Rebuke 
not an elder," says St. Paul, " but entreat him as a father, 
and the younger men as brethren, the elder women as 
mothers, the younger as sisters, with all purity." 1 Tim. v. 
1, 2. Such was the exhortation of this apostle to a young 
minister ; nor was his example unsuitable to his counsel. 
" I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye 
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to 
God. Dearly beloved, be not overcome of evil, but over- 
come evil with good." Rom. xii. 1, 19, 21. "I write not 
these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn 
you." 1 Cor. iv. 14. "I, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech 
you, that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye 
are called." Eph. iv. 1. "If there be any consolation in 
Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the 
Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye 
be likeminded, being of one accord. My beloved, work 
out your o^^^l salvation with fear and trembling." Phil. ii. 
1, 2, 12. " We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you 
by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye 
ought to walk, and to please God, so ye would abound 
more and more." 1 Thess. iv. 1. " Though I might be 
much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is conve- 
nient, yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being 
such a one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of 
Jesus Christ. I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, 
whom I have begotten in my bonds : who in time past 
was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and 
to me : whom I have sent again : thou therefore receive 
him, that is, mine own bowels. Yea, brother, let me 
have joy of thee in the Lord : refresh my bowels in the 
Lord." Philemon 8 — 12, 20. Such was the tenderness 
and affection with which St. Paul was accustomed to 
address his believing brethren. But the language of this 
apostle was very difierent when he spoke of himself, and 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 303 

of that body of sin which constrained him to cry out, " 
wretched man that I am !" 

It is the character of too many persons to be severe 
toward the failings of others, while they show the utmost 
lenity toward themselves, with respect both to their 
infirmities and their vices. Always ready to place the 
faults of their neighbours in an odious light, and their own 
in the most favourable point of view, they seem to be 
made up of nothing but partiality and self-love, while the 
true minister reserves his greatest indulgence for others, 
and exercises the greatest severity toward himself. " All 
things are lawful for me," -writes St. Paul, " but I ynW not 
be brought under the power of any." 1 Cor. vi. 12. 
'- Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, 
but one receiveth the prize ? And every one that striveth 
for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it 
to obtain a corruptible crown ; but we an incorruptible. 
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly ; so fight I, not as 
one that beateth the air : but I keep under my body, and 
bring it into subjection : lest that by any means, when I 
have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 
1 Cor. ix. iM— L>7. 

( )ne rtfiection naturally finishes this trait of the cha- 
racter of fc^t. Paul. If this spiritual man, if this great 
apostle, thought himself obliged to use such strenuous 
efforts that he might not be rejected before God at the last, 
in how great danger are those careless pastors and Chris- 
tians who, far from accustoming themselves to holy acts 
of self-den i;d, satisfy their natural desires without any 
apprehension, and treat those as enthusiasts who begin to 
imitate tSt. Paul, by regai'ding their baptismal vow, and 
renouncing their sensual appetites ! 



304 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 



TRAIT XXVI. 

HIS LOVE NEVER DEGENERATED INTO COWARDICE, BUT 
REPROVED AND CONSOLED AS OCCASION REQUIRED. 

The cliarlty of the true minister bears no resemblance 
to that phantom of a virtue, that mean complaisance, that 
unmanly pliancy, that unchristian cowardice, or that 
affected generosity, which the ministers of this day delight 
to honour with the name of " charity." According to 
these insufficient judges, to be charitable is only to give 
some trifling alms out of our abundant superfluities, to 
tolerate the most dangerous errors without daring to lift 
up the standard of truth, and to behold the overflowings 
of vice without attempting to oppose the threatening tor- 
rent. Such would be the mistaken charity of a surgeon, 
who, to spare the mortifying arm of his friend, should 
suffer the gangrene to spread over his whole body. Such 
was the charity of the high priest Eli toward Hophni and 
Phinehas, — an impious charity, which permitted him to 
behold their shameful debaucheries with too favourable an 
eye, — a fatal charity, which opened that abyss of evil 
which finally swallowed them up, and into which they 
dragged with them their father, their children, the people 
of Israel, and the church over which they had been 
appointed to preside. 

The good pastor, conscious that he shall save a soul 
from death, if he can but prevail with a sinner to forsake 
his evil way, uses every effort to accomplish so important 
a work. And, among other probable means which he 
employs on this occasion, he tries the force of severe 
reprehension, rebuking the wicked with a holy authority ; 
and, if it be necessary, returning to the charge with a 
spark of that glowing zeal with which his Master was 
influenced, when he forced from the temple those infa- 
mous buyers and sellers who had profaned it with their 
carnal merchandise. Thus St. Paul, on receiving infor- 
mation that scandalous errors had been discovered in the 
conduct of a member of the Corinthian church, immedi- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 305 

atelv Avrote to that church in the following severe and 
solemn manner : " It is reported that there is fornication 
among you. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather 
mourned, that he that hath done this deed might he taken 
away from among you. Know ye not, that a little leaven 
leaveneth the whole lump," and that the plague in any 
single member of a society is sufficient to infect the whole 
company ? " Purge out therefore the old leaven, and put 
away from among yourselves that wicked person. If any 
man that is called a brother be a fornicator, keep not com- 
pany with such a one, no, not to eat. Be not deceived : 
fornicators shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Know 
ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ ? Flee 
fornication," therefore, and avoid the company of forni- 
cators. " For ye are bought with a price : therefore 
glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are 
God's." Further : "I verily, as absent in body, but pre- 
sent in spirit, have judged aheady concerning" the lasci- 
vious person that is among you, " to deliver such a one 
unto satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit 
may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus." 1 Cor. v., vi. 
When the true minister has passed the severest cen- 
sures upon sinners, and beholds those censures attended 
with the desired effect, he turns to the persons he lately 
rebuked, with testimonies of that unbounded charity that 
" beareth all things," and '"liopeth all things." More 
ready, if possible, to relieve the dejected, than to humble 
the presurajituous, after having manifested the courage of 
a lion, he j)uts on the gentUness of a lamb, consoling and 
encouraging the jjeuitent offender, and never ceasing to 
intereede for him, till his pardon is obtained both from God 
and man. Tiius St. Paul, who had so sharply rebuked 
the Corinthians in his first epistle, gave them abundant 
consolation in his second, and exhorted them to receive 
with kindness the person whom he had before enjoined 
them to excommunicate. It is easy to recognise the ten- 
derness of Christ, in the following language of this bene- 
volent apostle : " 1 wrote unto you " my first epistle "out 
of much afflietion and anguish of heart, with many tears; 
not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the 



306 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

love which I have more abundantly unto you." 2 Cor. 
ii. 4. '^ Great is my glorying of you ; I am filled with 
comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. God, 
that comforteth them that are cast down, comforted us by 
the coming of Titus," my messenger, " when he told us 
your earnest desire, your mourning, and your fervent 
mind toward me. For though I made you sorry with a 
letter, I do not repent, though I did repent. Now I 
rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed 
to repentance : for ye were made sorry after a godly 
manner. For behold what carefulness it wrought in you, 
what clearing of yourselves, what" holy "indignation, 
what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what revenge. 
In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in 
this matter." Moreover " we were comforted in your com- 
fort : yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy 
of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. And 
his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst 
he remembereth the obedience of you all, and how you 
received him," together with my reproof, " with fear and 
trembling. I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in 
you in all things." 2 Cor. vii. And with respect to the per- 
son who has caused us so much distress, " sufficient to such 
a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. 
So that" now "ye ought rather to forgive him, and com- 
fort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up 
with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that 
ye would confirm your love toward him. To whom ye 
forgive any thing, I forgive also ; " nay, I have already for- 
given him, for your sakes, as in the presence of Christ. 
2 Cor. ii. 6—10. 

Great God, appoint over thy flock vigilant, charitable, 
and courageous pastors, who may discern the sinner 
through all his deceitful appearances, and separate him 
from thy peaceful fold, whether he be an unclean goat, or 
a ravenous wolf. Permit not thy ministers to confound 
the just with the unjust, rendering contemptible the most 
sacred mysteries, by admitting to them persons with 
whom virtuous heathens would blush to converse. Touch 
the hearts of those pastors who harden thy rebellious 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 307 

people, by holding out tokens of thy favour to those who 
are the objects of thy wrath ; and permit no longer the 
bread of life, which they carelessly distribute to all who 
choose to profane it, to become in their unhallowed hands 
the bread of death. Discover to them the impiety of 
offering their holy things to the dogs ; and awaken in 
them a holy fear of becoming accomplices with those 
hypocritical monsters who press into thy temple to crucify 
thy Son afresh, and who, by a constant profanation of the 
symbols of our holy faith, add to their other abominations 
the execrable act of eating and drinking their own damna- 
tion, with as much composure as some among them swal- 
low down the intoxicating draught, or utter the most im- 
pious blasphemies. 

AN OBJECTION ANSWERED. 

Before we proceed to the consideration of another 
trait of the character of St. Paul, it will be necessary to 
refute an objection to which the preceding trait may 
appear liable : "• Dare you," it may be asked, " propose to 
us as a model a man who could strike Elymas with 
blindness, and deliver up to satan the body of a sinner ? " 

Answer. — The excellent motive and the happy suc- 
cess (if the apostle's conduct in botii these instances entirely 
justify him. He considered affliction not only as the 
crueihlc in which God is frequently pleased to purify 
the just, but as the last remedy to be employed for the 
restoration of obstinate sinners. Behold the reason why 
the charity of the primitive church demanded, in behalf 
of CJod, that the rod should not be spared, when the 
impiety of men was no longer able to be restrained by 
griitler means, deteniiining that it was far better to be 
brought to repentance even by the sharpest sufferings, 
than to live and die in a sinful state. To exercise this 
high degree of holy and oharitabK^ severity toward a sin- 
ner was, in some mysterious manner, to deliver up his 
body to satan, who was looked upon as the executioner 
of God's righteous vengeance in criminal cas<'S. Thus 
satan destroyed tlio first-born of I'.u'vjit, smote the sub- 
jects of David with the pestilence, and cut off the vast 



308 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

army of Sennacherib. St. Jolin has thrown some light upon 
this jHfofound mystery, by asserting, " There is a sin unto 
death ;" (1 John t. 16 ;) and the case of Ahab is fully in 
point; for when that king had committed this sin, a spirit of 
error received immediate orders to lead him forth to 
execution upon the plains of Ramoth-Gilead. 1 Kings xxii. 
20, 22. This awful doctrine is further confirmed by St. 
Luke, when he relates, that in the same instant when 
the people, in honour of Herod, "gave a shout, saying, 
It is the voice of a god, and not of a man, the angel 
of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the 
glory ; and he was eaten up of worms, and gave up the 
ghost." Acts xii. 22, 23. The punishment thus inflicted 
by the immediate order of God was always proportioned 
to the nature of the offence. If the sin was not unto 
death, it was followed by some^ temporary affliction, as 
in the cases of Elymas and the incestuous Corinthian. 
If the crime committed was of such a nature that the 
death of the sinner became necessary, either for the 
salvation of his soul, for the reparation of his crime, or 
to alarm those who might probably be corrupted by his 
pernicious example, he was then either smitten with some 
incurable disease, as in the case of Herod, or struck 
with immediate death, as in the case of Ananias and 
Sapphira, who sought to veil their hypocrisy with appear- 
ances of piety, and their double-dealing with a lie. Had 
M. Voltaire considered the Christian church as a well- 
regulated species of theocracy, he would have seen the 
folly of his whole reasoning, with respect to the autho- 
rity of that church in its primitive state. And, con- 
vinced that God has a much greater right to pronounce 
by his ministers a just sentence of corporeal punishment, 
and even death itself, than any temporal prince can claim 
to pronounce such sentence by his officers, that daring 
philosopher, instead of pointing his sarcasms against an 
institution so reasonable and holy, would have been 
constrained to tremble before the Judge of all the earth. 

Finally : it is to be observed, that when this kind of 
jurisdiction was exercised in the church, the followers 
of Christ, not having any magistrates of their own reli- 



PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 309 

mon lived altogether under the government of heathenish 
rulere who frequently tolerated those very crimes which were 
peculi'arly offensive to the pure spirit of the gospel. And 
on this account God was pleased to permit the most 
eminent among his people, on some extraordinary occa- 
sions, to exercise that terrible power, which humbled 
the offending church of Corinth, and overthrew the sor- 
cerer Elymas in his wicked career. If it be inquired, 
" What would become of mankind, were the clergy of this 
day possessed of the extraordinary power of St. Paul ?" 
we answer : The terrible manner in which St. Paul some- 
times exercised the authority he had received, with 
respect to impenitent sinners, is not left as an example to 
the ecclesiastics of the present day, unless they should 
come (which is almost impossible) into similar circum- 
stances, and attain to equal degrees of discernment, faith, 
and charity with this apostle himself 



TRAIT XXYIT. 

HIS PERFECT DISINTERESTEDNESS. 

If '' charity seeketh not her own," and if it is required 
that the " conversation " of the faithful should " be with- 
out covctousness," it becomes the true minister, in an 
especial manner, to maintain an upright and disinterested 
conduct in tlie worM. 

Though it be true, that " they which wait at the altar 
arc partak(Ts with the altar," yet nothing is so detestable 
to the faithful pastor as the idea of enriching himself 
with the sacred spoils of that altar. Observe hoAv St. Paul 
expresses himself upon this subject : " We brought 
nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry 
notliing out. Having," therefore, " food and raiment, let 
us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall 
into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and 
liurtful lusts, Avhich drown men in perdition. For the 



310 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

love of money is the root of all evil : which while some 
have Coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and 
pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, 

man of God," who art set apart as a minister of the 
everlasting gospel, " flee these things ; and follow after 
righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." 

1 Tim. vi. 7 — 11- With regard to myself, "I have 
learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to he content. 
Every where and in all things I am instructed both to be 
full and to be hungry, both to aboimd and to suffer need." 
Phil. iv. 11, 12. " Neither at any time used we flattering 
words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness ; God is 
witness. For ye remember our labour and travail, because 
we would not be chargeable unto any of you. Ye are our 
witnesses, and God also, how holily, and justly, and un- 
blameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe." 

1 Thess. ii. 5, 9, 10. " Behold, the third time I am ready to 
come to you ; and I will not be burdensome to you : for I 
seek not yours, but you : for the children ought not to 
lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 
And I wUl very gladly spend and be spent for you." 

2 Cor. xii. 14, 15. Behold the disinterestedness of the 
feithful shepherd, who is ever less ready to receive food 
and clothing from the flock, than to labour for its pro- 
tection and support. Behold the spirit of Christ ! And 
let the pastor who is influenced by a different spirit draw 
that alarming inference from his state which he is 
taught to do by the following expression of St. Paul : — 
" If any man hath not the spirit of Christ, he is none of 
his." Rom. viii. 9. 

Happy would be the Christian church were it blessed 
with disinterested pastors ! Avaricious ministers, who are 
more taken up with the concerns of earth than with the 
things of heaven, who are more disposed to enrich their 
families than to supply the necessities of the poor, who 
are more eager to multiply their benefices or to augment 
their salaries, than to improve their talents and increase 
the number of the faithful; such ministers, instead of 
benefiting the church, harden the impenitent, aggravate 
their own condemnation, and force infidels to believe 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 311 

that the holy ministry is used, by the generality of its 
professors, as a comfortable means of securing to them- 
selves the perishable bread, if not the fading honours, of 
the present life. 



TRAIT XXVIII. 

niS CONDESCENSION IN LABOURING, AT TIMES, WITH HIS 
OVrS HANDS, THAT HE MIGHT PREACH INDUSTRY BY 
EXAMPLE, AS WELL AS BY PRECEPT. 

Seen is the disinterestedness of the true minister, that 
thoupfli he might claim a subsistence from the sacred 
office to which he has been solemnly consecrated, yet he 
generously chooses to sacrifice his rights when he cannot 
enjoy them without giving some occasion for reproach. 
To supply his daily wants, he is not ashamed to labour 
with his own hands, when he is called to publish the 
gospel, either among the poor, or in those countries where 
the law has not appointed him a maintenance, as among 
hcatlien nations and savage tribes ; nor will he refuse to 
do this when his lot falls among a slothful people, ani- 
mating them to diligence in their several vocations by his 
prudent condescension, that the gospel may not be blamed. 
In such circumstances, if his own patrimony is insufficient 
for his support, no disciple of Jesus Avill blush to follow 
the example of St. Paul, who gives the following repre- 
sentation of bis o^vn conduct in cases of a like nature : — 
" Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that you 
miglit be exalted, because I have preached to you the 
gospel of Cod freely? When I was present with you, 
and wanted, I was chargeable to no man : in all things I 
have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and 
80 will I keep myself. As the truth of Christ is in me, 
no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of 
Achaia. Wherefore? because I love you not? God 
knoweth. But that I may cut off occasion from them 
that desire occasion," and who would not fail to represent 



312 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

me as a self-interested person, were they able to charge 
me with the enjoyment of my just rights among you. 
2 Cor. xi. 7 — 12. " I have coveted no man's silver, or 
gold, or apparel. Ye yourselves know that these hands 
have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that 
were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so 
labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember 
the words of our Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more 
blessed to give than to receive." Acts xx. 33 — 35. " Ye 
know how ye ought to follow us : for we behaved not 
ourselves disorderly among you ; neither did we eat any 
man's bread for nought ; but wrought with labour and 
travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to 
any of you : not because we have not power, but to make 
ourselves an ensample unto you. For even when we were 
with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not 
work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are 
some which walk among you disorderly, working not at 
all, but are busy-bodies." 2 Thess. iii. 7 — H* Happy 
were those times of Christian simplicity, when the apostles 
of Christ thought it no disgrace to follow some useful 
occupation, for the relief of their temporal necessities ; 
when, instead of eating the bread of idleness, they cast 
their nets alternately for fishes and for men ; when they 
quitted the tabernacles in which they were wont to labour, 
for the sacred recreation of setting before sinners "a 
building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in 
the heavens." Of how much greater value were the nets 
of St. Peter, than dogs of the chase; and the working 
implements of St. Paul, than those tables of play, at 
which many of his unworthy successors are now seeking 
amusement ! 

But notwithstanding all the circumspection and prudence 
of the faithful pastor, even though he should think it 
necessary to preach industry by example, as well as by 
precept ; yet if his exhortations are more frequent than 
those of his lukewarm brethren, he will be reproached by 
the irreligious part of the world, as an indirect advocate 
for indolence. The enemies of piety and truth are still 
ready to renew the old objection of Pharaoh against thp 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 313 

6er\-ice of God : — '" Wherefore do ye let the people from 
their works ? The people of the land are many, and you 
make them rest from their burdens. They be idle ; there- 
fore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. 
Let there more work be laid upon the men; and let 
them not regard vain words." Exodus v. 4 — 9. Such is 
the erroneous judgment which is generally formed re- 
specting the most zealous servants of God ; but while they 
feel the bitterness of these unmerited reproaches, they 
draw more abmidant consolation from the encouraging 
langu;i[:e of their gracious Master : — " Blessed are ye, 
when men shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, 
for ray sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad : for great is 
your reward in heaven : for so persecuted they the pro- 
phets which were before you." Matt. v. 11, 12. 

The declared adversaries of religion are not, however, 
the only persons who accuse a laborious minister of 
diverting the people from their business by the too fre- 
quent returns of public exhortation and prayer : there are 
others, not wholly destitute of piety, who frequently add 
Avei^ht to these unjust accusations. Such are the half- 
converted, who, not yet understanding the inestimable 
worth iii' tiiat lae:id which nourisheth the soul to ever- 
lasting; lifi', are chiefly engaged in labouring for the bread 
which perislietli. Mvn of this character, engaging them- 
selves in a vast variety of earthly concerns, incessantly 
'• *lis<jiuet themselves in vain," and consider those hours as 
running to \v;iste in wliicli a zealous pastor detains them 
from worldly cares and frivolous enjoyments. While he 
IS eni,Mged in teacliinij: that '-one thing" only "is" abso- 
luttiy •' needful," they are gasping at every apparent good 
that solicits their atlecticms; and while he is insisting- 
upon the necessitv of cln.osing ''that good part which 
shall not be taken away," tlu'se formal professors are ready 
to reason with him, as .Alartha with Jesus: Dost thou 
n..t kno\v how greatly we iire cumbered with a multi- 
plicity of vexatious concerns; and '^carest thou not" that 
our assistants and dependents are detained from their 
necessary avocations by an indolent attendance upon thy 
ministry? "^ 



Vol. 



V. 



314 PORTEAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

These false sentiments with respect both to the minis- 
ters Snd the word of God, which too generally prevail 
among nominal Christians, have their source in that direct 
opposition which must always subsist between the grand 
maxim of the children of God, and the distinguishing 
principle of worldly men : " Seek ye first the kingdom of 
God, and his righteousness," saith the blessed Jesus; "and 
all these things" which are further necessary to your wel- 
fare " shall be added unto you." Matt. vi. 33. " No," 
replies the prince of this world ; " seek ye first the enjoy- 
ments of time and sense, and all other things that are 
needful to your well-being shall be added over and above." 
From these two opposite principles results that entire 
contrariety which has been observed in all ages between 
those who are laying up treasures upon earth, and those 
who have set their affections upon things that are above. 
Happy are the faithful, and doubly happy the pastors, 
who, constantly imitating the great apostle, according to 
their several vocations, pray and labour at the same time 
both for their daily bread and the bread of eternal life ! 
In thus observing the twofold command of Moses and of 
Christ, some reasonable hope may be entertained, that 
their good works will at length overcome the aversion of 
their enemies, as those of the first Christians overcame the 
deep-rooted prejudices of the heathen world. 



TRAIT XXIX. 



THE RESPECT HE MANIFESTED FOR THE HOLY ESTATE OF 
MATRIMONY, WHILE CHRISTIAN PRUDENCE ENGAGED 
HIM TO LIVE IN A STATE OF CELIBACY. 



Some ministers have carried their disinterestedness to 
so high a pitch, that they have refused to enter into the 
marriage state merely with this view, that, being free from 
all superfluous care and expense, they might consecrate 
their persons more entirely to the Lord, and their posses- 
sions less reservedly to the support of the poor, whom 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 315 

thev considered as their children, and adopted their heirs. 
But all pastors are not called to follow these rare examples 
of a1>«tinence and disinterested piety. 

When we examine into the life of a celebrated man, we 
generally inquire whether he passed his days in a state of 
marriage or celibacy, and what it was that determined his 
choice to the one or the other of these states. Such an 
inquiry is peculiarly necessary with respect to St. Paul, as 
many of the faithful, in the earliest ages of the church, 
deluded by the amiable appearance of celibacy, embraced 
the monastic life, — a state to which the clergy and the 
reli"-ious of the Romish church still dedicate themselves ; 
whence those disgraceful accusations which diyers philo- 
sophers have preferred against the Christian religion, as 
dt'structive of society in its very origin, the conjugal 
bond. But, leaving the reveries of legend, if we seek 
for Christianity in the pure gospel of Christ, we shall 
find this accusation to be totally groundless ; since one 
view of the Christian legislator in publishing that gospel 
was to strengthen the nuptial tie by declaring, that an 
immodest glance is a species of adultery, by revoking the 
permission formerly given to the husband to put away his 
wife for any temporary cause of dissatisfaction, and by 
absolutely forbidding divorce, except in cases of adultery. 
3Iatt. V. :2(), 32. Nay, so flir did this divine Lawgiver 
carry his condescension in honour of the marriage state, 
that he was ])rcsi'nt at one of those solemn feasts which 
were usually hold upon such occasions, attended by the 
holy virgin and his twelve disciples ; and, not content with 
giving this public testimony of his respect for so honour- 
able an institution, he accompanied it with the first mira- 
culous proof (if his almighty power. 

St. Paul, it is true, passed the whole of his life in a state of 
c('liha<'y; but he never enjoined that state to any person ; 
ami it he occasionally recommended it to some, to whom 
it was indifferent whether they married or not, it was 
chietly on account of the distress and persecution of those 
times. 1 Cor. vii. 2(). To engage the most pious persons 
ordinarily to live in a state of celibacy is not less contrary 
to nature and reason, than to the spirit of the gospel. 

p 2 



316 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

This is to oppose the propagation of the best Christians 
and tSe most faithful subjects ; it is to suppose, that those 
persons who join example to precept in the cause of vir- 
tue, and who, on that very account, are peculiarly qualified 
for the education of children, are the only persons in the 
world who ought to have none. The absurdity of this 
opinion constrained the apostle Paul publicly to combat it, 
by declaring to the Hebrews, that " marriage, and the bed 
undefiled, are honourable among all men." Heb. xiii. 4. 
He further afl&rmed, that " a bishop must be the husband 
of one wife, one that ruleth well his own house, having his 
children in subjection with all gravity." 1 Tim. iii. 2, 4. 
And if he wished the Corinthians to continue in the state 
which he himself had chosen, on account of the peculiar 
advantages accruing from it at that season to the perse- 
cuted members of the Christian church ; " nevertheless, 
to avoid fornication," he counselled, that " every man 
should have his OAvn wife," and " every woman her own 
husband." 1 Cor. vii. 2. " I will," saith he to Timothy, 
" that the younger women marry, bear children, and guide 
the house." 1 Tim. v. 14. And lastly, he cautioned the 
same Christian bishop against the error of those who, 
in the last times, should " depart from the faith, giving 
heed to the doctrines of devils," and " forbidding to 
marry ;" earnestly exhorting his young successor to guard 
the brethren against a doctrine so fatal to the church 
in particular, and so destructive of society in general. 
1 Tim. iv. J, 6. 

But it may be urged, if St. Paul really entertained such high 
ideas of the marriage state, and represented it as the most 
perfect emblem of that strict union which subsists betwixt 
Christ and his church, why did he not recommend it by 
his example ? I answer : Although St. Paul was never 
married, yet he expressly asserted his right to that privi- 
lege as well as St. Peter and some others of the apostles ; 
(1 Cor. ix. 5 ;) intimating, at the same time, that pru- 
dence and charity inclined him to forego his right in that 
respect. When a man is perpetually called to travel from 
place to place, prudence requires that he should not 
encumber himself with those domestic cares which must 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 31/ 

occasion many unavoidable delays in the prosecution of 
\ns business; or, if be derives bis maintenance from the 
generositv of the poor, charity should constrain him to 
bunion them as little as possible. This zealous apostle 
could not prevail upon himself to expose a woman and 
children to those innumerable dangers which he was con- 
stantly obliged to encounter. The first peril from which 
he made his escape was that which compelled him to 
descend from the wall of Damascus in a basket : now, if 
a f miily had shared with him the same danger, what an 
addition would they have made to his affliction and his 
ciire! Is it not evident, that, in such circumstances, 
everv man who is not obliged to marry from reasons 
firher physical or moral, is called to imitate the example 
of this disinterested apostle from the same motives of 
prudence and charity ? This indefatigable preacher, always 
on a mission, judged it advisable to continue in a single 
state to the end of his days ; but, had he been fixed in a 
particular church, had he there felt how much it concerns 
a minister neither to tempt others, nor be tempted him- 
self ; and had he known how much assistance a modest, 
provident, and pious woman is capable of affording a pas- 
tor by inspecting the women of his flock; he would then 
jtrobably liave advised every resident pastor to enter into 
the marriage state, provided they should fix upon regene- 
r.ite persons capable of edifying the church, in imitation 
of l^ln-be, a deaconess of Cenchrea, and Persis, who was 
$.» dear to St. I'aul on account of her labours in the Lord ; 
(Uoni. xvi. 1, \'2 ;) or copying the example of those four 
rir-in-;, the daughters of Philip, who edified, exhorted, 
and consoled the faithful by their pious discourses. Acts 
sxi. !».* 



^ The iiMpntion of ministers in choosing sucli companions as may 
not hiuih'r thi-ir miccoss in the ministry, is of so great importance that, 
in >ome countrit's, the conduct of a pastor's wife, as well as that of the 
ji:i>tur Uiin!<L'lf, is supposed either to edify or mislead the flock. Na)', 
the ministt-r himaelf is frequently condcnmed for the faults of his wife : 
tho.^, in the protcstiuit churches of Hungary, they degrade a pastor 
v>hose wife induli^cH herself in cards, dancing, or any other public 
niimscment which bespeaks the gjiicty of a lover of the world rather 
thiiii the gravity iif a Christian matron. This severity springs from the 
riipj".>sitioa, tliat the woman, having promised obedience to her husband, 



318 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

The Christian doctrine on this point may be reduced 
to the following heads : — .1 . In times of great trouble 
and grievous persecutions, the followers of Christ should 
abstain from marriage, unless obliged thereto by par- 
ticular and powerful reasons. Matthew xxiv. 19. 
2. The faithful who mean to embrace the nuptial 
state should be careful on no account to connect them- 
selves with any persons, except such as are remarkable 
for their seriousness and piety. 2 Cor. vi. 14. 3. If 
a man is married before he is converted, or if, being 
converted, he is deceived in choosing a woman whom 
he supposed to be pious, but discovers to be worldly, 
instead of separating himself from his wife in either 
of these cases, he is rather called to give all diligence 
in bringing her acquainted with the truth as it is 
in Jesus. 1 Cor. vii. 16. 4. Missionaries ought not to 
marry, unless there be an absolute necessity. 5. A bishop 
or resident pastor is usually called to the marriage state. 
1 Tim. iii. 12 ; Titus i. 6. Lastly : a minister of the gos- 
pel who is able to live in a state of celibacy " for the 
kingdom of heaven s sake," that he may have no other 
care except that of preaching the gospel, and attending 
upon the members of Christ's mystical body, such a one is 
undoubtedly called to continue in a single state. For, 
having obtained the gift of continence, he is dispensed 
from carnally giving children to the church, because he 
begets her spiritual sons and daughters ; and such a one, 
instead of being honoured as the head of a parti- 
can do nothing but wliat lie either directs or approves. Hence they 
conchide, that example having a greater influence than precept, the wife 
of a minister, if she is inclined to the world, wiU preach worldly com- 
pliance with more success by her conduct, than her husband can preach 
the renunciation of the world by the most solemn discourses. And the 
incredulity of the stumbled flock will always be the consequence of that 
unhappy inconsistency which is observable between the serious instruc- 
tions of a well-disposed minister and the trifling conduct of a woman 
■with whom he is so intimately connected. Nor are there wanting apos- 
tolic ordinances sufficient to support the exercise of this severe disci- 
pline : " Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faith- 
ful in all things." Let the bishop or deacon be " one that ruleth well 
his own house, having his children," and every part of his family, " in 
subjection with all gravity ; for if a man know not how to rule his own 
house, how shall he take care of the church of God ? " 1 Tim. iii. 4j 
6, H. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



319 



cTilar houseliold, should be counted worthy of double 
honour, as a spiritual father in his Lord's family. Matt 
xix. 12. 



TRAIT XXX. 

THE ARDOUR OF HIS LOVE. 

The passions are the springs by which we are usually 
actuated. Reason alone is too weak to put us in motion so 
often as duty requires ; but when love, that sacred passion 
of the faithful, comes in to its assistance, we are then sweetly 
constrained to act in conformity to the various relations 
we sustain in civil and religious life. Thus the God of 
nature has rooted in the hearts of mothers a fond affection 
which keeps them anxiously attentive to the wants of 
their children ; and thus the Spirit of God implants in the 
])Dsom of a good pastor that ardent charity which excites 
him to watch over his flock with the most affectionate and 
unwearied attention. The love of a father to his son, the 
attachment of a nurse to her foster-child, the tender affec- 
tion of a mother to her infant, are so many emblems em- 
ployed in the holy scriptm-es to set forth the sweetness and 
ardour of that Christian love which animates the true 
minister to the performance of his several duties. " You 
know," says St. Paul, " how we exhorted, and comforted, 
and charged every one of you, as a father doth his child- 
ren. A\'e were gentle among you, even as a nurse che- 
rishetli her children ; so, being affectionately desirous of 
you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the 
gospel of Go(l only, but also our own souls, because ye 
were dear unto us." 1 Thess. ii. 7, 8, 11. "God is my 
rt'cord how greatly I long after you all in the boAvels of 
Jesus Christ." Philip, i. 8. " Receive us, for ye are in 
our hearts to die and live with you." 2 Cor. vii. 2, 3. 
Worldly pastors can form no idea of that ardent charity 
which dictates such benevolent language, and accompanies 
it witii actions which demonstrate its sincerity. This is 
one of those mysterious things which are perfectly incom- 



320 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

prehensihle to the natural man, and wliicli frequently 
appear to him as the extremest folly. This fervent lore 
improves us into new creatures, by the sweet influence 
it maintains over all our tempers ; this holy passion 
deeply interests the faithful pastor in the concerns of 
his fellow-Christians, and teaches him to, rejoice in the 
benefits they receive, as though his own prosperity was 
inseparably connected with theirs. " I thank my God," 
writes tlje great apostle to the benefactor of his brethren, 
'• making mention of thee always in my prayers, hearing 
of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord 
Jesus, and toward all saints ; that the communication of 
thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of 
every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For 
we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because 
the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother." 
Philemon 4 — 7- The sorrow and the joy of this zealous 
imitator of Christ were generally influenced by the varying 
states of the faithful. When any who had once run 
well were seen loitering by the way, or starting aside 
from the path of life, he expressed the most sincere 
affliction on their account : — there are some, " of whom 

1 have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, 
that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ." Phil, 
iii. 18. On the other hand, the progress of believers was 
as marrow to his bones, and as the balsam of life to his 
heart : " We are glad, when we are weak, and ye are 
strong : and this also we wish, even your perfection." 

2 Cor. xiii. 9. " My brethren, dearly beloved and longed 
for, my joy and croAvn, stand fast in the Lord, my dearly 
beloved. Be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, 
without rebuke ; holding forth the word of life ; that I 
may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run 
in vain, neither laboured in vain." Philippians iv. 1 ; 
ii. 15, 16. 

Reader, whoever thou art, permit me to ask thee one 
important question. Art thou acquainted with that ar- 
dent charity that influenced the apostle Paul? If his 
Christian love was like a rapid and deep river, is thine, 
at least, like a running stream whose waters fail not? 



PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 321 

Do tliv joys and thy sorrows flow in the same channel, 
and tend to the same point, as the sanctified passions of 
Um benevolent man? Relate the chief causes of thy 
satisfaction and thy displeasure, and I will tell thee 
whether, like Demas, thou art a child of this present 
world, or a fellow-citizen of heayen, with St. Paul.* 



TRAIT XXXI. 

ills GEXEROUS FEARS AND SUCCEEDING CONSOLATIONS. 

"When the church is threatened -with a storm, the 
worldly pastor has no fears, except for himself and his 
relations ; but the true minister, if he is at all disquieted 
with fear, when the Lord's vessel is driven with the 
winds, or appears to be in danger through the indiscreet 
CMuduct of false or unloving brethren, he feels much less 
for his own safety, than for the security of his companions 
in tribulation. He fears especially for the weak of the 
flock, and for those of the faithful who are exposed to 
violent temptation; and these generous fears, which 
i-<|ually prove his lioiy zeal and his brotherly love, without 
robbing him of all his joy, afford him frequent opportunities 
lit' exercising his faith, his resignation, and his hope. 
" Wo were troubled, ' saith St. Paul, " on every side ; 
witlmut ^\vre fightings, within were fears. I fear lest by 
any moans, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his sub- 
tilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simpli- 
city that is in Christ. I foar, lest, when I come, I shall 
not find you such as I would." 2 Cor. vii. 5 ; xi. 3; 
xii. 2(1. ^^ Wlu-n we could no longer forbear, we sent 
'1 iniothy to establish you, and to comfort you concerning 
your faith : that no man should be moved by these afflic- 
tions : for yourselves know that we are appointed there- 

• Have you more joy when your preachintr augments yoiir income 
thai. \vli»n ) nil ob^iervo a wandering sheep conducted into the right way ' 
1 h.-n comlude, that you preach more for mammon than for Christ — 
Al. Roy LIS. 

p 5 



322 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

unto. For verily, when we were witli you, we told you 
befoye, that we should suffer tribulation ; even as it came 
to pass. For this cause, when I could no longer forbeai-, 
I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter 
have tempted you, and our labour be in vain." 1 Thess. 
iii. 1 — 5. 

Though these "fightings without," and these "fears 
within," are always painful to the flesh, yet they are as con- 
stantly beneficial to the soul. If they subject the true min- 
ister for a season to the keenest affliction, they prepare him 
in the end for "strong consolation." Observe the manner in 
which the great apostle expresses himself upon this point. 
" We would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our 
trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed 
out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we de- 
spaired even of life. We had the sentence of death in 
ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in 
God which raiseth the dead : who delivered us from so 
great a death, and doth deliver : in whom we trust that 
he will not yet deliver us." 2 Cor. i. 8 — 10. " I would 
ye should imderstand, brethren, that the things which 
happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the further- 
ance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are 
manifest in all the palace, and in all other places ; and 
many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by 
my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without 
fear." Phil. i. 12 — 14. Hence, " we glory in tribulations : 
knowing that tribulation worketh patience ; and patience, 
experience ; and experience, hope ; and hope maketh not 
ashamed ; because the love of God is shed abroad in our 
hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Rom. 
V. 3 — 5. " Blessed be God, the Father of mercies, and 
the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our 
tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which 
are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves 
are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ 
abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." 
2 Cor. i. 3—5. 

If those who are honoured with a commission to pub- 
lish the gospel were fully convinced how gracious and 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



323 



powerful a blaster they serve, instead of being alarmed at 
the sight of those labours and dangers which await them 
in the exercise of their ministry, they would stand pre- 
pared to run all hazards in his service; as courageous 
soldiers, who fight under the eye of a generous prince, are 
ready to expose their lives for the augmentation of his 
•^lijry. Can it become good pastors to manifest less con- 
cern for the salvation of their brethren, than mercenary 
warriors for the destruction of their prince's foes ? And 
if the Romans generously exposed themselves to death, in 
preserving the life of a fellow-citizen, for the trifling 
reward of a civic Avreath, how much greater magnanimity 
should a Christian pastor discover in rescuing the souls of 
his brethren from a state of perdition, for the glorious 
reward of a never-fading crown ? 



TRAIT XXXII. 

TllF. (iUAXD SUBJECT OF HIS GLORYING, AND THE EVAN- 
(.KLICaL -MANNER IN WHICH HE MAINTAINED HIS 
SlI'EinuRITV OVER FALSE APOSTLES. 

Till- disposition of a faithful pastor is, in every respect, 
diametrically opposite to that of a worldly minister. If 
you observe the conversation of an ecclesiastic who is 
influenced by the spirit of the world, you will hear him 
intimating either that he has, or that he would not be 
sorry to have, the precedency among his brethren, to live 
in a state of affluence and splendour, and to secure to 
himself such distinguished appointments as would increase 
both his dignity and his income, without making any extra- 
ordinary addition to his pastoral labours; you will find 
him anxious to be admitted into the best companies, and 
occaKicnally forming parties for the chase or some other 
vam amusement : while the true pastor cries out in the 
self-renouncing language of the great apostle, " God for- 
bid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord 



324 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

Jesus Christ, by wliGin tlie world is crucified unto me, 
and J. unto the world." Gal. vi. 14. 

If the minister who is really formed to preside in the 
church was singled out from among his brethren, and 
placed in an apostolic chair, he would become the more 
humble for his exaltation : if such a one was slighted and 
vilified by false apostles, he would not appeal, for the 
honour of his character, to the superiority of his talents, 
his rank, or his mission ; but rather to the superiority of 
his labours, his dangers, and his sufi'erings. Thus, at 
least, St. Paul defended the dignity of his character 
against the unjust insinuations of his adversaries in the 
ministry : " Are they ministers of Christ ? (I speak as a 
fool) I am more." But in what manner did he attempt 
to prove this ? Was it by saying, " I have a richer benefice 
than the generality of ministers ; I am a doctor, a pro- 
fessor of divinity ; I bear the mitre, and dwell in an 
episcopal palace ?" No : instead of this, he used the fol- 
lowing apostolic language : — " In labours I am more 
abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more fre- 
quent, in deaths oft ; in journeyings often, in perils in 
the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, 
in perils by the heathen, in perils among false brethren ; 
in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in 
hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 
Besides those things which are without, that which cometh 
upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who. is 
weak, and I am not weak ? who is oJfFended and I burn 
not ? If I must needs glory, I will glory in the things 
which concern mine infirmities." 2 Cor. xi. 23 — 30. 
" From henceforth let no man trouble me : for I bear in 
my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Gal. vi. 17- 
Such are the appeals of holy prelates. But for a man to 
glory in having obtained a deanery, a professor's chair, or 
a bishopric, is in reality to boast of his unfaithfulness to 
his vocation, and to prove himself unworthy of the rank 
to which he has been injudiciously raised. 

Ye who preside over the household of God, learn of 
the apostle Paul to manifest your real superiority. Sur- 
pass your inferiors in humility, in charity, in zeal, in your 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 325 

painful labours for the salvation of sinners, in your 
invincible courage to encounter those dangers which 
threaten your brethren, and by your unAvearied patience 
in bearino- those persecutions which the faithful disciples 
of Christ are perpetually called to endure from a corrupt 
world. Thus shall you honourably replace the first 
Christian prelates, and happily restore the church to its 
primitive dignity. 



TRAIT XXXIII. 

HIS PATIENCE AND FORTITUDE UNDER THE SEVEREST 

TRIALS. 

'•Charity is not easily provoked;" but, on the con- 
trarv, " thinketh no evil." Full of patience and meekness, 
Chrir^t distinguished himself by his abundant love to those 
IVoin whom he received the most cruel treatment. Thus 
aKu the ministers of Christ are distinguished, who, as 
thoy are more or less courageous and indefatigable in the 
work of the ministry, are enabled to adopt the following 
declaration of St. Paul with more or less propriety : — 
" Being reviled, we bless ; being persecuted, we suffer it ; 
being defamed, we entreat ; we are made as the filth of 
the world, and are as the ofi-scouring of all things unto 
this day." 1 Cor. iv. 12, 13. "Giving no offence in any- 
thing, that the ministry be not blamed ; but in all things 
approving ourselves, as the ministers of God in much 
patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in 
stripes, in im])risonments, in tumults, in labours, in 
watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by 
long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love 
unleigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by 
the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the 
h'ft," which enables us to attack error and vice, while it 
shields us from their assaults ; " by honour and dishonour; 
by evil report and good report ; as deceivers, and yet 
true ; as unknown, and yet well known ; as dying, and, 



326 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

behold, we live ; as chastened, and not killed ; as sorrow- 
ful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many 
rich ; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." 
2 Cor. vi. 3—10. 

Far from being discouraged by the trials which befal 
him, the true minister is disposed, in such circumstances, 
to pray with the greater fervency ; and according to the 
ardour and constancy of his prayer, such are the degrees 
of fortitude and patience to which he attains. "We 
have not received," saith St. Paul, " the spirit of bondage 
again to fear ; but we have received the Spirit of adoption, 
whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself," amid 
all our distresses, " beareth witness with our spirit, that 
we are the children of God. Likewise the Spirit also 
helpeth our infirmities. For we know not what we should 
pray for as we ought : but the Spirit itself maketh inter- 
cession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." 
Rom. viii. 15, 16, 26. " I besought the Lord thrice that" 
this trial " might depart from me. And he said unto me, 
My grace is sufficient for thee : for my strength is made 
perfect in weakness. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmi- 
ties, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in 
distresses, for Christ's sake : for when I am weak, then 
am I strong." 2 Cor. xii. 8 — 10. " I can do all things 
through Christ which strengtheneth me." Phil. iv. 13. 

What an advantage, what an honour, is it to labour in 
the service of so gracious and powerful a Master ! By 
the power with which he controls the world he overrules 
all things " i'or good to them that love " him. Their most 
pungent sorrows are succeeded by peculiar consolations j 
the reproach of the cross prepares them for the honours of 
a crown ; and the flames in which they are sometimes seen 
to blaze become like that chariot of fire which conveyed 
Elijah triumphantly away from the fury of Jezebel. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 327 

TRAIT XXXIV 

niS MODEST FIRMNESS BEFORE MAGISTRATES. 

Supported by a strong persuasion that God and truth 
are on his side, the faithful minister is carried above all 
those disheartening fears which agitate the hearts of 
■worldly pastors. Depending upon the truth of that 
solemn prediction, " They will deliver you up to the 
council, and ye shall be brought before governors and 
kinn^s for my sake, for a testimony against them and the 
gentiles," he expects, in times of persecution, to appear 
before magistrates, and possibly before kings, for the cause 
of Christ and his gospel. Nor is he afflicted at such a 
prospect. Relying on the promise of that compassionate 
Redeemer who once appeared for him before Annas and 
Caiaphas, Herod and Pontius Pilate, without anxiously 
jtremeditating what he shall answer, and resting assured 
that wisdom shall be given him in every time of need, he 
cries out, Avith the holy determination of the Psalmist, " I 
v,i\\ speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not 
be ashamed." Psalm cxix. 46. 

When he is brought as a malefactor before the judge, 
wliile liis accusers, actuated by malicious zeal, agree to 
say, '• We liave found this man a pestilent fellow, a mover 
<'i sedition among the people," and one of the ringleaders 
of a new and dangerous sect, he justifies himself by an- 
swer! iii:, " The witnesses who appear against me this day, 
neither found me trampling under foot the authority of my 
superiors, nor sowing the seeds of sedition among the 
people; 'neither can they prove the things whereof they 
now accuse me. But this I confess, that after the Avay 
which they call heresy, so worship 1 the God of my fathers, 
beb'c\ ing all things which are written in the law and the 
prophets : and have hope toward f Jod, which they them- 
W'lvcs allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, 
l)i>th of the just and unjust.' " And supposing his accusers 
ire not only deists, but professors of the Christian faith, he 
nrill add, " This also I confess, that in conformity to those 



328 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

principles which pretended philosophers term 'supersti- 
tious,' and which lukewarm Christians call ' enthusiastic, 
' I believe,' not only ' in God the Father Almighty,' but 
also in * Jesus Christ his only Son/ whom I acknowledge 
to be ' King of kings, and Lord of lords,' and who, after 
having suffered for our sins, rose again for our justifica- 
tion. Further : I joyfully subscribe to that confession of 
faith which is frequently in your own mouths, ' I believe in 
the Holy Ghost,' who regenerates and sanctifies every true 
member of the holy catholic church ; and I participate 
with those members the common advantages of our most 
holy faith, which are, an humble consciousness of ' the 
forgiveness of sins,' a lively hope of ' the resurrection' of 
the body,' and a sweet anticipation of everlasting life. 
' And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a con- 
science void of offence toward God, and toward men.' " 
Acts xxiv. 5 — 16. If his judge, already prejudiced against 
him, should unbecomingly join issue with his accusers, and 
charge him with extravagance and fanaticism, he will an- 
swer, after St. Paul, with all due respect, " I am not mad ; 
but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. And I 
^vould to God, that not only thou, but also all who hear 
me this day, were altogether such as I am, except these 
bonds." Acts xxvi. 25, 29. 

After a pastor has had experience of these difficult trials, 
he is then in a situation to confirm younger ministers, in 
the manner of St. Paul : " I know whom I have believed, 
and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I 
liave committed unto him against that day. At my first 
answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me. 
Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened 
me r that by me the preaching might be fully known, and 
that all the gentiles might hear " the gospel : " and I was 
delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord 
shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve 
me unto his heavenly kingdom : to whom be glory for ever 
and ever." 2 Tim. i. 12; iv. 16—18. 

Behold the inconveniences and dangers to which, not only 
Christian pastors, but all who follow the steps of the apostle 
Paul, will be exposed in every place where the bigoted or 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



329 



he incredulous occupy the first posts in church or state ! 
Viul whether we are called to endure torments, or only to 
mflfer reproach in the cause of truth, let us endeavour to 
support the sufferings that shall fall to our lot with thatre- 
jolution and meekness of which St. Paul and his adorable 
Master have left us such memorable examples. 



TRAIT XXXY 

BI? COURAGE IX CONSOLING HIS PERSECUTED BRETHREN. 

Persuaded that "all who will live godly in Christ 
Jesus," and particularly his ministers, " shall suffer perse- 
cution," (2 Tim. iii. 12,) the good pastor looks for opposi- 
tion from every quarter ; and whenever he suffers for the 
ttstmiony he bears to the truths of the gospel, he suffers 
not only with resolution, but with joy. 

The more the god of this degenerate world exalts him- 
self in opposition to the truth, the more he disposes every 
biiKire heart for the reception of it. The gospel is that 
everlasting rock upon which the church is founded, and 
a^'uinst which " the gates of hell" can never prevail ; and, 
tliough this rock is assailed by innumerable hosts of visible 
and invisible enemies, yet their repeated assaults serve 
only to demonstrate with increasing certainty its unshaken 
iirnincss and absolute impenetrability. A clear sight of 
tlie sovereign good, as presented to us in the gospel, is 
sutlitiont to malvC it universally desirable. The veil of 
inatiention, however, conceals, in a groat measure, this 
sovt'reiuMi good, and the mists of prejudice entirely obscure 
it. But by the inhuman conduct of the persecutors of 
Ouistianity, their false accusations, their secret plots, and 
their unexampled ciueUy, these mists are frequently dissi- 
pated, and these veils rent in twain from the top to the 
bottom. Error is l)y these means uuAvittingly exposed to 
the view of the world ; while every impartial observer, 
attracted by the eliarms of persecuted truth, examines into 
its nature, acknowledges its excellence, and at length 



330 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

triumphs in the possession of that inestimable pearl which 
he gnce despised. Thus the tears of the faithful, and the 
blood of confessors, have been generally found to scatter 
and nourish the seed of the kingdom. 

Ye zealous defenders of truth, let not the severest per- 
secutions alarm your apprehensions or weaken your con- 
fidence, since every trial of this kind must necessarily 
terminate in your own advantage, as well as in the estab- 
lishment and glory of the Christian faith. Error, always 
accompanied with contradictions, and big with absurd 
consecj^uences, will shortly appear to be supported by no 
other prop than that of prejudice, or passion, or the des- 
potism of a usurped authority, which renders itself odious 
by the very means employed for its support. The more 
the partisans of every false doctrine sound the alaim 
against you, the more they resemble a violent multitude 
opposing the efforts of a few, who are labouring to extin- 
guish the fire that consumes their neighbours' habitations ; 
the different conduct of the one and the other must, 
sooner or later, manifest the incendiaries. Error may be 
compared to a vessel of clay, and truth to a vase of massy 
gold. In vain is calumny endeavouring to render the 
truth contemptible, by overheaping it with every thing 
that is abominable ; in vain would prejudice give error an 
amiable appearance, by artfully concealing its defects ; for 
whenever the hand of persecution shall furiously hurl the 
latter against the former, the solid gold will sustain the 
shock unhurt, while the varnished clay shall be dashed 
in pieces. The experience, however, of seventeen ages 
has not been sufficient to demonstrate to persecutors a 
truth so evident ; nor are there wanting inexperienced 
believers in the church who are ready to call it in ques- 
tion, and who, " when persecution ariseth because of the 
word," are unhappily observed to lose their Christian 
resolution. But, "why do the heathen rage, and the 
people imagine a vain thing, the kings of the earth stand 
up, and the rulers take coimsel together against the Lord, 
and against his Anointed ? He that dwelleth in heaven 
shall laugh them to scorn," and make their malice serve 
to the accomplishment of his great designs. Psalm ii. 1 — 4. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 331 

Tlius the Jews, in crucifying Christ, contributed to lay 
tlie frraiul foundation of the Christian church ; and after- 
wards, hy persecuting the apostle Paul to death, gave him 
an opportunity of bearing the torch of truth to Rome, and 
even into the palaces of its emperors. And it was from 
Kome itself, as from the jaws of a devouring lion, that he 
comforted the faithful, who w^ere ready to faint at his 
atttictions, and encouraged them to act in conformity to 
their glorious vocation : '" I suffer trouble, as an evil-doer, 
even imto bonds ; but the word of God is not bound. 
Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they 
may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus 
with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying, For if we be 
dead with him, we shall also live Avith him ; if we suffer, 
we shall also reign with him ; if we deny him, he also will 
deny us. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony 
of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner ; but be thou partaker 
of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of 
(i m1 ; who hath called us according to his own purpose and 
grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, who hath abo- 
lished death, and hath brought life and immortality to 
light through the gospel ; whereunto I am appointed a 
preacher, and an apostle ; for the which cause 1 also suffer 
these tliiii;j;s; nevertheless, I am not ashamed. Thou 
therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus 
Christ. l> Tim. ii. !)— 1:2; i. il—]'2 ; ii. 3. 

Happy is the faithful minister of Christ amid all the 
severe atllictions to which ho is sometimes exposed. 
Though '' troubled on every side," yet he is ■•• not di^i- 
trcssi'd ;" though '"perplexed," yet '"not in despair;" 
though '• persecuted," yet "not forsaken;" though "• east 
down." yet '' not dtstroyed." All the violent attacics of 
his enemies must finally contribute to the honour of his 
triumph, while their flagrant injustice gives double lustre 
to the glorious cause in which he suffers. 



332 PORTRAIT OF ST. PA[IL. 



TRAIT XXXVI. 

HIS HUMBLE CONFIDENCE IN PRODUCING THE SEALS OF 

HIS MINISTRY. 

A PASTOR must, sooner or later, convert sinners, if he 

sincerely and earnestly calls them to repentance toward 

God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, 

though filled with indignation against sin, with compassion 

toward the impenitent, and with gratitude to Christ, he 

should, like St. Paul, in proportion to his strength, wrestle 

■with God hy prayer, with sinners by exhortation, and 

with the flesh by abstinence ; yet even then, as much 

unequal to that apostle, as he was unequal to his Master, 

lie may reasonably despair of frequently beholding the 

happy effects of his evangelical labours. But if he cannot 

adopt the following apostolic language, " Thanks be unto 

God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and 

maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in 

every place ; " he will, at least, be able to say in his little 

sphere, " We are unto God a sweet savour of Christ in 

them that are saved, and in them that perish : to the one 

we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other tlie 

savour of life unto life." 2 Cor. ii. 14—16. If he has not, 

like St. Paul, planted new vines, he is engaged, with 

Apollos, in watering those which are already planted ; he 

is rooting up some withered cumberers of the ground, he 

is lopping off some unfruitful branches, and propping up 

those tender sprigs which the tempest has beaten down. 

He would be the most unhappy of all faithful ministers, 
had he not some in his congregation to whom he might 
with propriety address himself in the following terms : 
" Do we need epistles of commendation to you ? Ye are 
manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered 
by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the 
living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of 
the heart." 2 Cor. iii. 1—3. " Are not ye my work in 
the Lord ? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubt- 
less I am to you : for the seal of mine apostleship are ye 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 333 

in the Lord. For though ye have ten thousand instruct- 
ors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers : for in Christ 
Jtsus have I hegotten you through the gospel." 1 Cor. 
ix. 1, 2; iv. 15. 

When a minister of the gospel, after labouring for seve- 
ral years in the same place, is unacquainted with any of 
his flock, to whom he might modestly hold the preceding 
lancuafre, it is to be feared, that he has laboured too much 
like the generality of pastors in the present day, since 
'" the word of God," when delivered with earnestness and 
without adulteration, '• is " usually " quick and powerful, 
and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to 
the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints 
and marrow." Heb. iv. 12 " He that hath my word, let 
him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the 
wheat ? saith the Lord. Is not my word like a fire, and 
like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces ? Behold, 
I am against them that cause my people to err by their 
li's. and by their lightness : therefore they shall not profit 
this people at all, saith the Lord." Jer. xxiii. 28 — 32. 

Those ministers who are anxious so to preach, and so to 
conduct themselves, as neither to trouble the peace of the 
formal, nor to alarm the fears of the impenitent, are 
undoubtedly the persons peculiarly alluded to in the 
following solemn passage of Jeremiah's prophecy : — " Mine 
h.art within nic is broken because of the prophets ; all 
ray bones sliake because of the Lord, and because of the 
words (»f his holiness. For both prophet and priest are 
profane ; vea, in my house have I found their wickedness, 
saith the Lord. They walk in lies," either actually or 
doctrinally; ^- they strengthen also the hands of evil- 
doers, that none doth return from his wickedness. From 
the prophets of Jerusalem is^ profancness gone forth into 
all the land. They speak a vision of their own heart, and 
i'"t out of the mouth of the Lord. They say unto them 
that" seeretly -despise me. The Lord hath said. Ye shall 
iiave peace; and tiny say unto everyone that walketh 
niter the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come 
upon you. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran : 
I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if 



334 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people 
to h«ar my words, then they should have turned them 
from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings." 
Jer. xxiii. 9 — 22. 

Behold the reason why nothing can so much afflict a 
faithftil minister as not to observe from time to time un- 
feigned conversions eflfected among the people by means 
of his ministry. The husbandman, after having diligently 
prepared and plentifully sowed his fields, is sensibly 
afflicted when he sees the hopes of his harvest all swept 
away at once by a furious storm ; but he feels not so lively 
a sorrow as the charitable pastor who, after having liberally 
scattered around him the seeds of wisdom and piety, 
beholds his parish still overrun with the noxious weeds of 
vanity and vice. If Nabals are still intoxicated ; if Cains 
are still implacable ; if Ananiases are still deceitful, and 
Sapphiras still prepared to favour their deceit; if Marthas 
are still cumbered with earthly cares ; if Dinahs are still 
exposing themselves to temptation, even to the detriment 
of their honour, and to the loss of that little relish which 
they once discovered for piety; and if the formal still 
continue to approach God with their lips, while their 
hearts are far from him ; a good pastor, at the sight of 
these things, is pierced through with many sorrows, and 
feels, in a degree, what Elijah felt when, overburdened 
with tatigue and chagrin, " he sat down under a juniper 
tree, and said. It is enough ; now, Lord, take away my 
life ; for I am not better than my fathers/' I Kings 
xix:. 4. 

Indifference in a matter of so great importance is one 
of the surest marks by which an unworthy pastor may be 
discerned. Of what consequence is it to a worldly minis- 
ter whether the flock, about which he takes so little 
trouble, is composed of sheep or goats ? He seeks not so 
much to benefit his people, as to discharge the more 
exterior duties of his office in such a way as may not 
incur the censure of his superiors in the church, who, 
possibly, are not a whit less lukewarm than himself. 
And if a tolerable party of his unclean flock do but dis- 
guise themselves three or four times in a year, for the 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 335 

purpose of making their appearance at the sacramental 
table, he is perfectly satisfied with the good order of his 
palish ; especially when the most detestable vices, such as 
extortion, theft, adultery, or murder, are not openly prac- 
tised in it. This outward kind of decency, Avhich is so 
satisfactory to the worldly minister, and which is ordina- 
rily effected by the constraining force of the civil laws, 
rather than by the truths of the gospel, affords the faithful 
pastor but little consolation. He is solicitous to see his 
people hungering and thirsting after righteousness, w^ork- 
ing out their salvation with fear and trembling, and 
engaging in all the duties of Christianity with as much 
eagerness as the children of the world pursue their shame- 
ful pleasures or trifling amusements ; and if he has not 
vet enjoyed this satisfaction, he humbles himself before 
God, and anxiously inquires after the reason of so great 
an unhappiness. He is conscious, that if his ministry is 
not productive of good fruit, the sterility of the word 
must flow from one or other of the following causes : 
either he publishes not the gospel in its full latitude 
and purity in a manner sufiiciently animating, or in sim- 
plicity and faith ; perhaps he is not careful to second his 
zt-alous discourses l)y an exemplary conduct ; perhaps he 
is n(';j;lig('nt in imploring the blessing of God upon his 
public and private labours ; or probably his hearers may 
luivo conceived inveterate prejudices against him, which 
make them inattentive to his most solemn exhortations ; 
so that, instead of being received among them as an 
ambassador of Christ, he can apply to himself the proverb 
formerly cited l)y his rejected Master : " No prophet is 
accej.ted in his own country," where he is accustomed to 
be sr(>n without ceremony, and heard without curiosity. 
It the fault appears to be on his own side, he endeavours 
to apply the most speedy and efficacious remedies, re- 
•loubling his public labours, and renewing his secret sup- 
I>lications, with more than ordinary fervour of spirit. But 
if, after repeated trials, he is convinced that his want of 
success chiefly flows from the invincible hatred of his 
flock to the truths of the gospel, or from the sovereign 
contempt which his parishioners manifest both for his 



336 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

person and his labours ; he is then justified in following 
the example of his unerring Master, who refused to exer- 
cise his ministry in those places where prejudice had 
locked up the hearts of the people against the reception 
of his evangelical precepts. 

When, in such a situation, a pastor is fearful of follow- 
ing the example of our Lord, lest he should be left desti- 
tute of a maintenance, in how deplorable a state must he 
drag through the wearisome days of a useless life! If 
every sincere Christian is ready to take up his cross, to 
quit friends and possessions, yea, to renounce life itself, on 
account of the gospel, can we consider that minister as a 
man really consecrated to the service of Christ, who has 
not resolution sufficient to give up a house, a garden, and 
a salary, when the welfare of his own soul and the inter- 
ests of the church require such a sacrifice ? 

When a preacher of the gospel counts less upon tlie 
promises of his Master than upon the revenues of his 
benefice, may we not reasonably conclude, that he is walk- 
ing in the footsteps of Baalam, rather than in those of St. 
Paul? And is it for such a man to declare the statutes of the 
Lord, or to recite the words of his covenant ? Psalm 1. 16. 
Is he not attempting to publish, before he effectually believes, 
the truths of the gospel ? And has he not a front of brass 
when, with the dispositions of a Demas, he mounts the 
pulpit to celebrate the bounty of that God who suppHes 
the little wants of sparrows, who feedeth the young ravens 
that call upon him, opening his hand, and filling all 
things living with plenteousness ? Let such a one con- 
sider, that the character of a virtuous preceptor, or an 
honest tradesman, is abundantly more honourable than 
that of a mercenary priest. 

In genera], it may be reasonably supposed, that if 
a pastor faithfully exercises his ministry in any place, to 
which he has been appointed by the providence of God, 
he will either benefit those among whom he is called 
to labour, or his hardened hearers will at length unite 
to drive him from among them, as the inhabitants of 
Nazareth forced Jesus away from their ungrateful city. 
Or, if he should not be forcibly removed from his post, 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 337 

as was the case of our Lord in the country of the 
Gadarenes, yet, believing it incumbent upon him to retire 
from such a part, he will seek out some other place in 
his .blaster's vineyard, that shall better repay the pains 
of cultivation ; whatever such a removal may cost him 
in the judgment of the world. And, indeed, such a mode 
of conduct was positively prescribed by our Lord to his 
first ministers in the following solemn charge : — " Into 
whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in 
it is worthy. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor 
hear your words, when," slighted and reproached by its 
unworthy inhabitants, ye are constrained to " depart out 
of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet," 
as a testimony against those who prefer the maxims of 
the world before the precepts of the gospel. Matt. x. 
11, 14. 

If any pastor refuses to adopt this method of proceed- 
ing after patience has had its perfect work; if he still 
fears to give up an establishment, as the sons-in-law of 
Lot were afraid of forsaking their possessions in Sodom ; 
he then acts in direct opposition to the command of 
Christ ; he obstinately occupies the place of a minister 
against whom, very probably, less prejudice might be 
entertained, and whose ministry, of consequence, would 
lio more likely to produce some salutary effect ; he loses 
his time in casting pearls before swine ; and, instead of 
converting his parishioners, he only aggravates the con- 
demnation duo to their obduracy. 

The faithful pastor, however, is not soon discouraged, 
though he beholds no beneficial consequences of his min- 
istry. His unbounded charity suffers, hopes, and labours 
long, without fainting. The more sterile the soil appears 
which he is called to cultivate, the more he waters it, 
both with his tears and with the sweat of his brow ; 
the more he implores for it " the dew of heaven," and 
the influences of that divine sun which spreads light 
and life through every part of the church. It is not, 
thiTcfoie, let it be repeated, till after patience has had 
Its perfect work, that a conscientious minister takes 
the final resolution of quitting his post in order to seek 

Vol. v. Q 



338 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

out some other situation in which his labours may be 
atteivied with greater profit. 



TRAIT XXXYII. 

niS READINESS TO SEAL WITH HIS BLOOD THE TRUTHS 

OF THE GOSPEL. 

He who is not yet prepared to die for his Lord hath 
not yet received that "perfect love" which " casteth 
out fear;" and it is a matter of doubt whether any 
preacher is worthy to appear in a pulpit, whose confidence 
in the truths of the gospel is not strong enough to dispose 
him, in certain situations, to seal those truths with his blood. 
If he really shrinks from the idea of dying in the cause of 
Christianity, is it for him to publish a Saviour who is 
" the resurrection and the life ?" And may he not be said 
to play with his conscience, his auditors, and his God, if, 
Avhile he is the slave of sin and fear, he presents himself 
as a witness of the salvation of that omnipotent Re- 
deemer who, " through death, has destroyed him that had 
the power of death ; " and who, by his resurrection, has 
" delivered them who, through fear of death, were all their 
life-time subject to bondage ?" Heb. ii. 14, 15. "Love," 
in the language of Solomon, " is strong as death ; " but 
the true minister glows with that fervent love to Christ 
and his brethren, which is abundantly stronger than those 
fears of death which would prevent him, in times of 
persecution, from the faithful discharge of his ministerial 
functions. Such was the love of St. Paul, when he cried 
out to those who would have dissuaded him from the 
dangerous path of duty : " What mean ye to weep and 
to break mine heart ? for I am ready not to be bound 
only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the 
Lord Jesus." Acts xxi. 13. " And now, behold, I go 
bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the 
things that shall befal me there : save that the Holy Ghost 
witnesseth in every city, saying, that bonds and afflictions 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 339 

abide me. But none of tliese things move me, neither 
count I my life dear unto myself, so that I may finish my 
course with joy, and the ministry which I have received, 
of the Lord Jesus." Acts xx. 22—24. " For I know that 
tliis shall turn to my saltation through your prayer, and. 
the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my 
earnest expectation, that Christ shall be magnified in my 
bodv, whether it be by life or by death. For me to live 
is Clirist. and to die is gain. And if I be offered upon 
the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice 
with you all." Phil. i. 19—21 ; ii. 17. 

Thus '• the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep : 
but he tliat is an hireling, and not the shepherd, seeth the 
Avolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth ; and the 
wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep." John x. 
11, 12. Happy is that church whose pastor is prepared 
to tread in the steps of " the great Shepherd and Bishop 
of siHils!" St. Paul would not have been ashamed to 
acknowledge such a one as his companion and fellow- 
labourer in the work of the Lord. 



TRAIT XXXVin. 

Tin: swF.ET su>i'i;\SE OF HIS choice betaveen life and 

DEATH. 

AViiATi.vER desire the faithful pastor may have to be 
with Christ, and to rest from his labours, yet he endures 
with joy his separation from the person of his Saviour, 
through the sacred ])leasure he experiences in the service 
of his members. 'The sweet equilibrium, in Avhich his 
desire was suspended b(■t\^('('n life and death, is thus ex- 
pressed by the apostle Paul : ^' We know that if our 
earthly h(»use of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a 
building of CJud, an house not made with hands, eternal 
in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring 
to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven : 
knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are 

q2 



340 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

absent from the Lord." 2 Cor. v. 1, 2, 6. " Yet what I 
sliall choose, I jn^ot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, 
having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ ; which is 
far better : nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more need- 
ful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I 
shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance 
and joy of faith." Phil. i. 22—25. 

It is chiefly when believers have the unconquerable 
love of St. Paul, " that all things work together for their 
good." Whether they live, or whether they die, every 
occurrence turns out a matter of favour. If they live, it 
is, that they may support their companions in tribulation, 
and insure to themselves a greater reward, by maintaining, 
for a longer season, the victorious fight of faith. If they die, it 
is, that they mayrest from their labours, and come to a more 
perfect enjoyment of their Master's presence. " Blessed 
are the dead which die in the Lord ; they rest from their 
labours, and their works do follow them." Rev. xiv. 13. 
And in the mean time, blessed are the living who live in 
the Lord ; for they are honourably engaged in those 
important conflicts which will daily add to their spi- 
ritual strength, and augment the brilliancy of their final 
triumph. 



TRAIT XXXIX. 

THE CONSTANCY OF HIS ZEAL AND DILIGENCE TO THE 
END OF HIS COURSE. 

Living or dying, the faithful servant of Christ never 
acts unworthy of his character. " Blameless and harmless 
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, a child 
of God, without rebuke, he shines," to the end of his course, 
" as a light in the world." Philip, ii. 1 5. He beholds death, 
whether it be natural or violent, always without fear, and 
generally with pleasure ; regarding it as a messenger ap- 
pointed for his safe conduct into that glorious state where 
they rejoice together who have continued faithful to the 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 341 

end. He is anxious only, that his Lord may find him 
occupied in the grand business he was commissioned to 
perform ; and the nearer his hour approaches, the more 
earnest he is, that he may finish his ministry with joy. 
If he is no longer able to exhort the brethren in person, he 
writes to them in the manner of St. Peter : " I will not be 
neghgent to put you always in remembrance of these 
things," — the doctrines, precepts, threatenings, and promises 
of the gospel, — " though ye know them, and be established 
in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I 
am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in 
remembrance ; knowing that shortly I must put off this 
tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed 
me." 2 Pet. i. J 2 — 14. He desires at such a season, to 
address the faithful, and especially young ministers, as St. 
Paul addressed the Corinthians and Timothy: — "My 
beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always 
abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye 
know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Cor. 
XV. 58. " Thou," Timothy, " hast fully known my doc- 
trine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, 
patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at 
Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I 
endured : but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall 
suffer persecution. But watch thou in all things, endure 
afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof 
of thy ministry ; for I am now ready to be offered, and 

the time of my departure is at hand." 2 Tim. iii. 10 12 ; 

iv. 5, 6. 

Thus triumphantly St. Paul advanced toward the end 
of his course. And thus the faithful minister, pouring 
fresh oil into his lamp as the night advances, goes forth to 
meet his approaching God, whom his faith already con- 
siders as a merciful Judge, and his hope as a munificent 
Re warder. 



342 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



TRAIT XL. 

HIS TRIUMPH OVER THE EVILS OF LIFE AND THE TERRORS 

OF DEATH. 

The living faith that sustains a good pastor, or a be- 
liever in Christ, amid all the difficulties and afflictions of 
life, causes him more especially to triumph at the approach 
of death even in all its most terrific appearances. Ever filled 
■with an humble confidence in Him who is the resurrection 
and the life, he frequently expresses the assurance of his 
victorious faith, at this solemn season, in the manner of St. 
Paul : " Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to 
triumph in Christ." 2 Cor. ii, 14. " Knowing that he 
who raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by 
Jesus, and shall present us with you:" therefore "we 
faint not ; but though our outward man perish, yet the 
inward man is renewed day by day. For our light afflic- 
tion, which is but for a moment, worketh out for us a far 
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 2 Cor. iv. 
14 — 17. Thus, holding up the shield of faith to quench 
the fiery darts of the wicked one, and to receive the 
piercing arrows of the angel of death, he expects his last 
hour without fear or impatience, cheerfully leaving the 
time, the place, the manner, and the circumstances of this 
concluding trial to the disposal of that God whose wis- 
dom, goodness, and power are all combined to insure him 
the victory. Whether he is called by the providence of 
God in a chamber, or upon a scaffold, to taste the bitter 
cup of which his Master drank so deeply, he prepares 
himself to accompany a suffering Saviour, encouraged with 
the hope, that he shall not be tempted above his strength, 
and that, if he suffers and dies with the King of glory, he 
shall also rise and reign together with him. 

At length the fatal shaft is thrown, — whether by acci- 
dent, by disease, or by the hand of an executioner, is of 
little consequence: the true Christian, prepared for all 
events, sees and submits to the order of providence. He 
receives the mortal blow, either with humble resignation, 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 343 

or with holy joy. In the first case, his soul Is sweetly 
disengaged from its earthly tabernacle, while he breathes 
out the supplicatory language of happy Simeon : "Lord, 
now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace ; for mme 
eyes have seen thy salvation." But in the second case, he 
leaves the world in a state of holy triumph, crying out in 
the fullest assurance of faith, " My persuasion takes place 
of sight ; and without the help of vision I endure, as 
seeing Him that is invisible ; as effectually sustained as 
though, contemplating, with Stephen, an open heaven, I 
saw the Son of man standing at the right hand of God, 
ready to save and glorify my soul." Of these two man- 
ners of holy dying, the most enviable appears to have been 
the lot of St. Paul, if we may judge from the anticipated 
triumph which graces several of his epistles, and parti- 
cularly the last he addressed to Timothy from Rome, 
where he received the crown of martyrdom : " I desire to 
depart, and to be with Christ ; for whom I have suffered 
the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I 
may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the 
fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto 
his death." Philip, i. 23 ; iii. 8, 10. " I have fought a 
good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the 
faith : henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of 
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall 
give me at that day ; to whom be glory for ever and ever." 
2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, 18. " Who shall separate us from the 
love of Christ ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecu- 
tion, or the sword ? Nay, in all these things we are more 
than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am 
persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor 
principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things 
to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, 
shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is 
in Christ Jesus." Rom. viii. 35—39. " death, where is 
thy sting? grave, where is thy victory? Thanks be 
to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus 
Christ." 1 Cor. XV. 55, 57. 

Thus the great apostle went forth to meet his last trial, 
counting it an honour to suffer in the cause of truth, and 



344 



PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 



rejoicing in hope of the glory of God. The enemies 
of Christianity rendered him at last conformable to Christ 
in his death ; * but while they severed his head from his 
body, they united his happy spirit more intimately to that 
exalted Jesus who had once met him in the way, and who 
now was waiting to receive him at the end of his course. 
Happy are the faithful who, like this faithful apostle, live 
unto the Lord : yet happier they who, like him, are en- 
abled to die unto the Lord ; " their works do follow 
them," while " they rest from their laboui's," and wait in 
peace the resurrection and all the sublime rewards of the 
righteous. 

• Tradition informs us, that St. Paul, in the second journey he made 
to Rome, received the crown of martyrdom under the emperor Nero, about 
thirty-five years after the crucifixion of our blessed Lord. St. Clement, 
the contemporary of St. Paul, speaks of that apostle in the following 
tenns, in his first epistle to the Corinthians : " By means of jealousy, 
Paul has received the prize of perseverance. Having been seven times 
in bonds, having been evil-entreated and stoned, having preached in the 
east and in the west, he has obtained the glorious prize of his faith. 
After having instructed all the world in righteousness, coming into the 
west, he has suffered martyrdom under those who command ; and thus 
quitting the world, after having shown in it a great example of pa- 
tience, he is gone into the holy place." 



THE 

PORTRAIT 

OF 

LUKEWARM MINISTERS 

AND 

FALSE APOSTLES. 



CHAPTER L 

THE PORTRAIT OF LUKEWARM MINISTERS. 

The essence of painting consists in a happy mixture of 
light and shade, from the contrast of which an admii-able 
effect is produced, and the animated figure made to rise 
from the canvass. Upon this principle we shall oppose to 
the portrait of St. Paul, that of lukewarm ministers and 
false apostles, whose gloomy traits will form a background 
peculiarly adapted to set off the character of an eyangelical 
pastor. 

If the primitive church was disturbed and misled by 
unfaithful ministers, it may be reasonably presumed, that, 
in this more degenerate period of its existence, the church 
of God must be miserably overrun with teachers of the 
same character. There is, however, no small number of 
ministers who form a kind of medium between zealous 
pastors and false apostles. These irresolute evangelists 
are sincere to a certain point : they have some desire after 
the things of God, but are abundantly more solicitous for 
the things of the world ; they form good resolutions in the 
cause of their acknowledged Master, but are timid and 
unfaithful when called upon actual service ; they are 
sometimes actuated by a momentary zeal, but generally 

Q 5 



346 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



influenced by servile fear ; they have no experience of that 
ardent affection and that invincible courage with which 
St. Paul was animated ; their wisdom is still carnal ; 
2 Cor. i. 12 ; they still confer " with flesh and blood." 
Gal. i. 16. Such was Aaron, who yielded, through an 
unmanly weakness, to the impious solicitations of his 
people. Such was Jonah, when he refused to exercise 
his ministry at Nineveh. That this prophet was possessed 
of a confidence in God, and a desire for the salvation of 
his fellow-creatures, we have every reason to believe ; but 
we find that neither the one nor the other was sufiiciently 
powerful to engage him in a service which appeared likely 
to endanger his reputation among men. Such were also 
the apostles before they were endued with power from on 
high. To every pastor of this character that expression 
of Christ, which was once addressed to the most cou- 
rageous man among his disciples, may be considered as 
peculiaiiy applicable : " Thou art an ofi'ence unto me ; for 
thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those 
that be of men." Matt. xvi. 23. 

Lukewarmness, false prudence, and timidity, are the 
chief characteristics by Avhich ministers of this class may 
be distinguished. Perceiving the excellence of the gospel 
in an obscure point of view, and having little experience 
of its astonishing effects, they cannot possibly discover that 
religious zeal which is indispensably necessary to the cha- 
racter they aff'ect to sustain. 

The pious bishop Massillon gives the following repre- 
sentation of these unqualified teachers, and the ill effects 
of their unfaithfulness : — " Manners are every day becom- 
ing more corrupt among us, because the zeal of ministers 
is daily becoming colder, and because there are found 
among us few apostolical men who oppose themselves, as a 
brasen wall, to the torrent of vice. For the most part, we 
behold the wicked altogether at ease in their sins, for the 
want of hearing more frequently those thundering voices 
which, accompanied with the Spirit of God, would eff"ect- 
ually rouse them from their awful slumber. The want of 
zeal, so clearly discernible among pastors, is chiefly owing to 
that base timidity which is not hardy enough to make a 



PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 347 

resolute stand against common prejudice, and which 
regards the worthless approbation of men beyond their 
eternal interests. That must needs be a worldly and 
criminal consideration which makes us more anxious for 
our own glory than for the glory of God ; that must truly 
be fleshly wisdom which can represent religious zeal under 
the false ideas of excess, indiscretion, and temerity, — a pre- 
text this which nearly extinguishes every spark of zeal in 
the generality of ministers. This want of courage they 
honour Avith the specious names of ' moderation ' and 
' prudence.' Under pretence of not carrying their zeal to 
an excess, they are content to be entirely destitute of it ; 
and while they are solicitous to shun the rocks of impru- 
dence and precipitation, they run without fear upon the 
sands of indolence and cowardice. They desire to become 
useful to sinners, and, at the same time, to be had in esti- 
mation by them. They long to manifest such a zeal as 
the world is disposed to applaud. They are anxious so to 
oppose the passions of men, that they may yet secure their 
praises ; so to condemn the vices they love, that they may 
still be approved by those they condemn. But when we 
probe a wound to the bottom, we must expect to awaken 
a degree of peevishness in the patient, if we do not extort 
from him some bitter exclamation." 

"Let us not deceive ourselves," continues the same 
author : " if that apostolical zeal which once converted 
the world is become so rare among us, it is because in the 
discharge of our sacred functions \\v seek ourselves, rather 
than the gl<»iy of Christ, and the salvation of souls. 
Glory and infamy were regarded by the apostle with equal 
indifference while he filled up the duties of his important 
office, lie knew it impossible to please men, and to save 
them ; to be the servant of the world, and the servant of 
Christ. Nevertheless, there are many among us Avho are 
seeking to unite these different services which the apostle 
believed to be irreconcilable." 

]M. !v()([ues agi-ces with the pious bishop in condemning 
those ministers who neglect to copy the eximiple of St. 
I'aul. " The little piety that is to be found among minis- 
ters," says this excellent writer, "is the most effectual 



348 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

obstacle to the progress of the gospel. By 'piety' I 
mean, that sincere and ardent love for religion which 
deeply interests a man in all its concerns, as well as in 
every thing that respects the glory of God, and of our 
Lord Jesus Christ. If this divine love was found reigning 
in the hearts of those who proclaim Christ ; if every 
preacher of the gospel was enabled to say with the sin- 
cerity of Peter, ' Lord, thou knowest all things, thou 
knowest that I love thee,' (John xxi. 15,) thou knowest 
that I have no ambition but for thy glory, and that my 
highest pleasure consists in beholding the increase of thy 
kingdom ; we should then perceive the word of God in 
their hands like a two-edged sword, cutting asunder the 
very deepest roots of sin. But as the gospel is preached 
more through contention, through vain-glory, and through 
the desire of getting a livelihood by serving at the altar, 
than through an ardent zeal to advance the glory of God ; 
hence it is that ministers fall into various errors, giving 
evident proofs of that indolence and unconcern which 
afford matter of scandal, rather than of edification." 
Evangelical Pastor. 

M. Ostervald speaks the same language in his third 
source of the coiTuption which reigns among Christians. 
" A great part of our ecclesiastics," says this writer, " may 
be justly charged with the corruption of the people, since 
there are among them many who oppose the re-establish- 
ment of a holy discipline, while others render the exercise 
of it totally useless, by an ill-timed softness, and a shame- 
ful indulgence." 

" I except those," continues this venerable pastor, "who 
ought to be excepted. But, on a general view, in what 
do ecclesiastics differ from other men ? Do they distin- 
guish themselves by an exemplary life ? Their exterior, 
indeed, is somewhat different ; they lead a more retired 
life; they, in some degree, save appearances, though all 
do not go thus far. But, beyond this are they not 
equally attached to the world, as much engaged with 
earthly things, as wholly taken up with secular views, as 
constantly actuated by interest and passion, as the gene- 
rality of mankind ? " 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 349 

Christian prudence required that these portraits of 
lukewarm ministers should be exhibited, as the designs 
of pastors who have been eminent for their piety, their 
rank, and experience, and ^vho, on that account, had a 
peculiar right to declare those truths which might give 
greater offence were they to come from less respectable 
persons. 



CHAPTER. II. 

THE PORTRAIT OF FALSE APOSTLES 

Between the state of careless ministers and that of false 
apostles there is not, in reality, so vast a difference as 
many are apt to imagine. An unworthy labourer in the 
spiritual vineyard gives speedy proofs of a lukewarm 
temper in the service of his Lord ; shortly after, his 
heart becomes entirely cold, with respect to piety ; and, 
what is still more lamentable, he frequently manifests as 
warm a zeal for error and vice, as the true minister can 
possibly discover in the cause of truth and virtue. Sucii 
is the state of those who may properly ]n- termed preach- 
ers of the third class, an<l Avho are spoken of by St. Paul 
under the title of " false apostles." '2 Cor. xi. 1.3. 

These unworthy ministers are known by their works. 
Like many of St. Paul's unfaithful fellow-labourers, 
(2 Tim. i. 15.) they prefer the repose and pleasure of the 
W(M-ld before the service and reproach of ("lirist. Like 
Judas and Simon the sorcerer, they love the honours and 
revenues of ministers, while they abhor the crosses and 
labours of the ministry. Like Hophni and rhiuehas, they 
are " sons of Belial, and know not tlie Lord. Their sin is 
very gieat before the Lord ;" for on their account many 
"abhor the offering of the Ijord." 1 Sam. ii. L2, 17- Like 
the wicked servant described by their reputed Mast(>r, 
instead of providing "meat for his household in due season," 
they "begin to smite" or to persecute those of their "fel- 
low-servants" who are intent upon discharging their several 
duties, while they pass away their time in mirth and fes- 



350 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



ti^dty with the riotous and the drunken. Matt. xxiy. 
48, 49. Tfley may justly be compared to lamps extin- 
guished in the temple of God : " Instead of shining there 
to his praise," says bishop Massillon, " they emit black 
clouds of smoke, which obscure every object about them, 
and become a savour of death to those who perish. 
They are pillars of the sanctuary which, being overthrown 
and scattered in public places, become stones of stumbling 
to every heedless passenger. They are the salt of the earth, 
and were appointed to preserve souls from corruption ; 
but, having lost all their savour, they begin to corrupt 
what they were intended to preserve." They are physi- 
cians who carry to their patients infection instead of 
health : from the spiritually diseased they withhold the 
healing word of God, (Psalm cvii. 20, ) while they distri- 
bute among them the dangerous poison of a lax morality, 
setting before them an example of bitter zeal against the 
truth, pufl&ng them up with that wisdom Avhich is earthly, 
sensual, and devilish. James iii. 14, 15. 

" A false pastor," says M. Roques, or a false apostle, 
" is a minister whose heart is not right before God, and 
who lives not in such a manner as to edify his flock. He 
knows the holy course of life to which Christians in gene- 
ral and ministers in particular are called ; but in spite of 
all his knowledge and his apparent zeal, he fears not to 
trample under foot those very maxims of the gospel which 
he has publicly established and preached with the utmost 
energy. Every day he performs acts of the most detest- 
able hypocrisy. Every time he preaches and censures, he 
bears open testimony against his own conduct ; but he 
publicly accuses, without ever intending to coi'rect, him- 
self. He is a constant declaimer against vice in the 
pulpit, but a peculiar protector of it while he is engaged 
in the common concerns of life. While he exhorts his 
hearers to repentance, he either imagines himself above 
those laws which he proposes to others on the part of 
God ; or he believes himself under no other necessity of 
holding them forth, than his known engagement to such 
a work, and the salary he receives for the performance 
of it." 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 351 

M. Ostervald, in a work already referred to, makes 
mention of these pastors in the following terms : — " How 
many do we see who regard their holy vocation in no other 
light than the means of procuring for themselves a com- 
fortable maintenance ! Are there not many who bring a 
scandal upon their profession by the licentiousness of their 
manners ? Do we not see them hasty and outrageous ? 
Do we not observe in them an extreme attachment to 
their own interests ? Are they careful to rule their fami- 
lies well ? Has it not been a subject of complaint, that 
they are puffed up Avith pride, and are implacable in their 
hatred ? I say nothing of many other vices and defects 
which are equally scandalous in the clergy ; such as vain 
and loose conversation, an attachment to diversion and 
pleasure, a worldly disposition, slothfulness, craft, injustice, 
and slander." 

'•• It is impossible to find a person," adds M. Ostervald, 
'•' surrounded with more powerful motives to piety, than a 
man whose ordinary occupation is to meditate upon reli- 
gious things, to discourse of them among others, to reprove 
vice and hypocrisy, to perform divine service, to adminis- 
ter the holy sacraments, to visit the afflicted and the 
dying, and who must one day render to God an account 
of the souls committed to his charge. I know not whe- 
ther it be possible to find any stronger marks of impiety 
and hypocrisy than those which may be discovered in the 
character of a person who, in the midst of all these 
favourable circumstances, is, nevcrtliclcss, an unrighlcous 
man. Such a one may be said to divert himself with the 
most sacred things of religion, and to spend the whole of 
his life in performing the part of an impostor. And this 
he does to his cost, since there is no profession in the 
world that will more efi'eetually secure a s<'ntenee of con- 
demnation, than that of the })riesthood when exercised in 
so unfaithful a manner." 

But it is chiefly in the holy scriptures where thes(> un- 
worthy pastors are portrayed in so strong a point of view, 
that every attentive observer may readily discern their 
distinguishing features. " Son of man," saith the Lord, 
" prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, and say unto 



352 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

them, Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye 
kill them that are fed : but ye feed not the flock. The 
diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye bound 
up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again 
that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that 
which was lost ; but with force and with cruelty have ye 
ruled them. Therefore thus saith the Lord God ; Behold, 
I am against the shepherds, and I will require my flock at 
-their hand." Ezek. xxxiv. 2 — 10. " As Jannes and Jam- 
bres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth, men 
of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith." 2 Tim. 
iii. 8. " Woe unto them ! for they have gone in the way of 
Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for 
reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. Clouds 
they are without water, carried about of winds ; trees with- 
out fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots ; raging 
waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wan- 
dering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of dark- 
ness for ever." Jude 11 — 13. 

St. John has not only drawn the character, but has 
likewise given us the name, of a certain tyrannical teacher 
who began to disturb the peace of the primitive church. 
" I wrote unto the church," saith he to Gains, concern- 
ing the reception of stranger evangelists : " but Diotre^ 
phes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, 
receiveth us not. If I come, I will remember his deeds 
which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: 
and not content therewith, neither doth he himself re- 
ceive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and 
casteth them out of the church." 3 John 9, 10. Behold 
a striking description of proud and persecuting ecclesi- 
astics. 

But, perhaps, the most complete description of these 
persons is given by our Lord himself, where he treats of 
worthless pastors in general, under the particular nameis 
of " scribes" and " pharisees." Here a divine and impar- 
tial hand delineates the jealousy, the pride, the feigned 
morality, the malice, and the persecuting spirit, which 
characterise this class of men in every age of the world. 
" Do not ye," saith Christ, " after their works ; for they 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 353 

say, and do not. All their works they do to be seen of 
men. They love the chief seats in the synagogues, and 
greetings in the markets. Woe unto you, hypocrites ! for 
ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men ; ye 
neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are 
entering to go in. Ye neglect judgment, mercy, and 
faith. Ye outwardly appear righteous unto men, but 
within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Because 
ye garnish the sepulchres of the righteous," ye vainly 
imagine yourselves free from a persecuting spirit, while, 
in other matters, as " the children of them which killed 
the prophets," ye are labouring to "• fill up the measure 
of your fathers." " Behold, I send unto you prophets" 
and zealous preachers of the word ; " and some of them 
ye shall kill, and some of them ye shall persecute from 
city to city." Matt, xxiii. 3 — 34. 

We need take but a cursory view of the new testament 
for sufficient proof that these worldly-minded scribes and 
these furious bigots above-represented, were the very per- 
sons who pursued the first evangelists w^ith such deadly 
rancour. Had it not been for Annas and Caiaphas, 
Herod and Pilate would silently have permitted the 
preaching of Jesus himself These, who were the chief 
men in the state, after refusing to embrace the word of 
God, on their own part, would most probably have con- 
tented themselves with denying its truths and ridiculing 
its followers ; but they w^ould never have passed a sen- 
tence of death upon so eminently holy a person as the 
blessed Jesus. 

The peculiar opposers of Jesus and his disciples were 
powerfully influenced by jealous pride ; and with the 
same malignant disposition every false apostle in the 
Christian church is deeply infected. The prelate, whose 
pen we have already borrowed, gives the following lively 
(b'soription of this unhappy terai)er : — '' This despicable 
jealousy not only dishonours zeal, but supposes it extin- 
guished in the heart. It is an infamous disposition which 
afflicts itself even for the conversion of sinners, and for 
the progress of the gospel, when it is through the ministry 
of others that God is pleased to work these miracles. 



354 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

The glory of God seldom interests us so much as when 
our own gtory appears to be mingled with his. We 
endure, with some kind of regret, that God should be 
glorified; and I will dare to add, that some of us could 
behold our brethren perishing with pleasure, rather than 
see them rescued from death by other labours and other 
talents than our own. St. Paul rejoiced to see the gos- 
pel spread abroad, though it were by the ministry of those 
who sought to disgrace him among the faithful ; and 
Moses desired that all his brethren might receive the gift 
of prophecy ; but we are anxious to stand alone, and to 
share with no person the glory and success of the holy 
ministry. Every thing that eclipses our own brightness 
or shines too near us, becomes insupportable, and we 
appear to regard the gifts of God in others, merely as a 
shame and reproach to ourselves." Observe here the true 
source of those specious pretexts which are professedly 
drawn from the order, the customs, and even from the 
prejadices of the world ; pretexts under which we dare to 
oppose the zeal of our brethren, to withstand the word of 
God in its course, and to render the cross of the ministry 
more burdensome to those who carry it further than we 
are disposed to do. One distinguishing mark of these 
turbulent evangelists is that of being thorns in the sides 
of true ministers, whom they never fail to represent as 
deceivers or novices, causing the truest piety to wear the 
semblance of enthusiasm and folly. " They speak evil 
of the things they understand not;" 2 Peter ii. 12; and 
by the most malicious discourses, which have always an 
appearance of zeal for religion and order, they are gra- 
dually rousing anew that spirit of persecution by which 
the name of Christ has been so universally disgraced in 
the world. 

In the earliest age of the Christian church, these false 
apostles, swelling with envy at the success of more faithful 
ministers, made use of every effort to render them con- 
temptible, by giving false representations of their holy 
zeal and their exemplary actions. Thus they accused St. 
Paul of walking "according to the flesh;" and asserted 
that though " his letters were weighty and powerful " yet 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 355 

"his bodily presence was weak, and his speecli con- 
temptible." 2 Cor. X. 2, 10. Nay, so anxious were they 
in seeking occasions for offence in the conduct of this 
apostle, that he believed himself obliged, in the end, pub- 
licly to expose t:.em. " These are false apostles," says he, 
" deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the 
apostles of Christ. And no marvel ; for Satan himself is 
transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no 
gi-eat thing, if his ministers also be transformed as the 
ministers of righteousness ; whose end shall be according 
to their works." 2 Cor. xi. 13 — 15. As our Lord foresaw 
that these strenuous opposers of real religion would bring 
his church to the very brink of ruin, he exhorted his dis- 
ciples continually to stand upon their guard against them. 
Matt. vii. 15. And the apostles, after steadily following 
their Master's important advice, were diligent in trans- 
mitting it to the latest of their followers. Acts xx. 
28—30. 

One necessary remark shall conclude this chapter. In 
the portrait of St. Paul, we have seen that of an evan- 
gelical pastor ; in the preceding chapter we have marked 
the character of a careless minister ; and in this we behold 
the faithful representation of a false apostle. Let us 
remember, that one of these three portraits must agree, 
more or less, with every preacher of the gospel. I say 
" more or less," because the various traits here marked out 
may be varied to an almost inconceivable degree. More- 
over, so inconstant is man, that a minister, who to-day 
is possessed of zeal sufficient to rank him with preachers 
of the first class, may to-morro\v, by an unhappy remiss- 
ness, sink in the second, as once did John whose surname 
was JNIark ; or even into the third, as Jlymeneus and 
Philetus, Diotrephes and Demas. On the contrary, a 
man who now discovers many of those characteristic traits 
by which Saul the pharisee was once distinguished, may, 
ere long, become an humble imitator of the zeal and 
charity of Paul the apostle. 



356 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



CHAPTER III. 

AN ANSWER TO THE FIRST OBJECTION WHICH MAY BE 
MADE AGAINST THE PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

Objections are the ordinary weapons with which error 
makes war upon truth, and these are sometimes so power- 
ful, that till they are effectually repelled, we see truth 
deprived of its rights. The first that will probably be 
advanced against the portrait of St. Paul is this : " The 
model placed before us is too exalted for those who are 
not endued with the miraculous gifts of St. Paul." 

To this and every other objection we shall offer a 
variety of replies in as concise a manner as possible. To 
the present objection a sufficient answer has been already 
returned by a truly respectable author. " This excuse," 
says Monsieur Roques, " might have some weight, if, in 
proposing the example of Christ to persons who are 
honoured vnth the holy ministry, we insisted upon their 
keeping pace with the Saviour of mankind. But this 
excuse is altogether frivolous, when nothing more is 
required of ministers, than continually to place Christ as 
a model before their eyes, and to imitate him with all the 
exactness of which they are capable." " This excuse," 
continues he, " is still more unreasonable when applied to 
prophets and apostles, who were men of like passions with 
ourselves ; and who, of consequence, may be placed before 
us as models, whose perfections are attainable by means 
of the very same succours which supported them, and 
which are never refused to those who have sincere and 
apostolical intentions." Evangelical Pastor. 

To the answer of this pious divine, we shall subjoin a 
few observations : — 

J . In the portrait of St. Paul there is found no large 
description of miraculous gifts, but a faithful representation 
of those Christian virtues which are found in every be- 
liever, according to his vocation, and without which it is 
impossible for us to fill up our several duties, such as 
humility, faith, charity, zeal, and assiduity. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 357 

2. The morality which was practised l)y St. Paul was 
no other than the morality of the gospel, which is the 
same iu every age, and for every condition ; whence it 
follows, that the moral character of this apostle belongs 
not only to all true pastors, but even to every sincere 
believer. If St. Paul was truly humble, charitable, and 
pious, his humility, his charity, and his piety are as 
essential to the religion of every Christian, as three angles 
are essential to the nature of every triangle. It is granted, 
that the piety of this apostle was greater than that of a 
thousand other ministers, just as one triangle may be 
greater than that of a thousand others. But as the 
angles of the most diminutive triangle are of the 
same quality with those which compose a triangle of 
uncommon magnitude, so the moral character of St. Paul 
is, with regard to essentials, the moral character of every 
true Christian. 

3. This apostle informs us, that he was obliged to 
keep his "body in subjection, lest" after having "preached 
to others," he himself "should be a castaway." 1 Cor. ix.27. 
This single acknowledgment sufficiently proves, that he 
Avas exposed to all those dangers with which Christians 
are generally beset ; and that he saw no way of escaping 
them, but by the use of those very precautions which the 
weakest believer is instructed to take. Now, if St. Paul 
was so fearful of falling away ; if St. Peter was really 
s<H'n to stumble and fall ; and if Judas, an elected apostle, 
irremediably plunged himself into the depths of perdition ; 
it is l)ut reasonable to suppose, that, by a faithful improve- 
ment of our privileges, we may attain to a good degree of 
that exalted piety from which one apostle fell for a season, 
and another for ever. 

4. In the whole portrait of St. Paul, there is not a 
stronger trait than the eighteenth, which describes the 
ardour of his love for the Jews, who pursued him even to 
death ; a love, that made him willing to be accursed in 
dying for them, as his gracious Master had been in dying 
for the world. Now this charity is so far from being an 
attainment too exalted for true ministers, that it is indis- 
criminately required of every professing Christian. 



358 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

" Hereby," saith St. John, " perceive we the love of God, 
because he laid down his life for us ; and we ought to lay- 
down our lives for the brethren." 1 John iii. 16. And our 
Lord himself hath said, " By this shall all men know that 
ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 
xiii. 35. It is by a new commandment to this effect, that 
the morality of the gospel is peculiarly distinguished from 
that of the law. And shall we impiously attempt to 
enervate evangelical morality ? Let us rather declare, 
upon all occasions, that " he who loveth not, knoweth not 
God." 1 John iv. 8. Let us cry out with the apostle, 
" If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be 
Anathema Maranatha :" and if a man love not his bre- 
thren, he loves not the Lord Jesus ; " for he that loveth not 
his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom 
he hath not seen ?" 1 Cor. xvi. 22 ; 1 John iv. 20. 

On the other hand, when we love our brethren " with a 
pure heart fervently," 1 Peter i. 22 ; when, disposed to 
universal benevolence, we can look upon our very enemies 
with sentiments of pity and affection; we are then 
assuredly possessed of that Christian charity which forms 
the most brilliant trait in the moral character of St. Paul. 

5. St. Paul was for three years the resident pastor of a 
single church. The city of Ephesus was his parish ; and 
while he resided there, he gave an example, which every 
minister, by the most solemn engagements, is bound to 
follow, whether he be commissioned to labour in a city or a 
village. During two other years of his life, this apostle 
was confined within narrower limits than any pastor of a 
parish. Shut up at Rome in a house that served him for 
a prison, and constantly guarded by a soldier, he was 
unable to extend the sphere of his labours. Yet, even in 
these circumstances, he continued in the diligent exercise 
of the holy ministry, "preaching the kingdom of God 
to all them that came in unto him, and teaching those 
things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 
xxviii. 30, 31. 

Surely nothing can appear more perfectly reasonable, 
than that every pastor should discover as much zeal in his 
particular parish as St. Paul was accustomed to manifest 



PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 359 

in the Roman empire when he was at liberty, and in his 
own apartment when loaded with chains. 

6. If the ardent charity and the incessant labours of St. 
Paul Avere happily imitated by Timothy, why may they 
not be copied by every pastor in the present day ? That 
youthful minister was anxious to tread in the steps of this 
apostle ; and they who are otherwise minded assuredly 
fall under those apostolical censures, which are thus indi- 
rectly expressed in his epistle to the Philippians : — " I 
trust to send Timotheus shortly unto you ; for I have no 
man like minded, who will naturally care for your state. 
For all seek their own, not the things w^hich are Jesus 
Christ's. But ye know the proof of him, that as a son 
with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel." 
Philip, ii. 19—22. 

7. The destruction of the eastern churches commenced 
in the falling away of their pastors, who gradually abated 
in the fervours of that holy zeal with which they had 
begun to labour in the vineyard of their Lord. Of such 
unfaithfal teachers, Christ affectingly complained in the 
earliest period of his church, and accompanied his com- 
plaints Avith the most terrible menaces. " Write unto the 
angel of the church of E})hesus," said he to St. John ; " I 
know thy" former '• Avorks, and thy labour, and thy 
patience, and hoAv thou canst not bear them Avhich 
are evil ; and thou hast tried them Avhich say they are 
apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars," &c. 
" Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because 
thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from 
Avhonce thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first AA'orks ; 
or else I will come unto tlice quickly, and Avill remove 
thy candk'stkk out of his place, except thou repent." 
Rev. ii. 1 — 5. 

The Avarning Avas unattended to, and, at length, the 
threatened blow Avas struck. Thus fell the church of 
Ephesus, and thus every church upon earth is fallen, 
making AA'ay for that inysteiy of iniquity, and that general 
apostasy, Avhich have been so long foretold. So true is it, 
that apostolical charity, that charity Avhich AA'as first lighted 
up on the day of pentecost, is still absolutely necessary to 



360 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

every pastor, to every church, and, of consequence, to 
every believer. 

From the combined force of these seven argumentative 
observations, we have a right to conclude, that the virtues 
of St, Paul are far from being inimitable, and that the first 
objection against his portrait is void of solidity. 



CHAPTER lY 

A SECOND OBJECTION ARGUED AGAINST. 

They who follow the example of Diotrephes rather 
than that of St. Paul add to the preceding another 
objection, to discredit, if possible, the imitators of this 
great apostle. " Do you pretend," say they, " to be the 
successors of St. Paul and the other apostles, whom you 
presumptuously cite as your models ? " 

To such objectors the following reflections may serve as 
a sufficient reply : — 

1. We have heard St. Paul, in the character of a 
believer, proposing himself as an example to all believers, 
and, as a minister of the gospel, exhorting every pastor to 
tread in his steps. 1 Cor. xi. 1 ; Philip, iii. 17. 

2. John the baptist preached repentance ; the apostles 
proclaimed remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ, 
" who was delivered for our oflFences, and was raised again 
for our justification;" Rom. iv. 25; and every true 
minister still continues to insist upon these important 
doctrines. Now, as he who takes the place of a person 
deceased is accounted the successor of such person, so 
these faithful pastors should be regarded as teachers 
appointed to succeed both the forerunner and the apostles 
of Christ. It must be allowed, that the apostles, as elders 
in the family of our Lord, were in possession of privileges 
which we are not permitted to enjoy. But if the gospel 
is unchangeable, and if the kingdom of God still remains 
under its ancient form of government, the priesthood must 
for the most part, of necessity continue the same. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 361 

3. There was a time in Avhich the Jewish priests had 
lost the Urim and Thummira, with which Aaron and his 
sons are at first invested. There was a time in which 
God no longer manifested himself to his own appointed 
priests, as he had been accustomed to do. But as, not- 
withstanding the loss of that glory which formerly rested 
upon the Jewish church, every pious priest, such as 
Zacharias, was a true successor of Aaron ; so, during the 
eclipse of that glory which once illuminated the Christian 
church, every pious minister may justly be accounted a 
true successor of St. Paul. 

4. The word " apostle " signifies " one who is sent," 
and answers to the term " angel," or " messenger." " Our 
brethren," says St. Paul, who accompany Titus, " are the 
messengers," or apostles, "of the churches." 2 Cor. viii. 23. 
Every minister, therefore, who carries with sincerity the 
messages of his Lord, may, with propriety, be ranked 
among his angels, or messengers. Nor do such immedi- 
ately lose their title when they neglect to perform the 
duties of their office. They may, like Judas, go under 
the name of apostles even to their death, though utterly 
unworthy of such an honouruble appellation. Thus, after 
the pastors of Ephesus and l.aodicea had outlived the 
transient fervours of their charity and zeal, they were still 
addressed as the angels of their several churches. And 
thus St. Paul gave the title of " apostle " to the worldly 
ministers of his time : in quality of ministers, they were 
apostles ; but in quality of worldly ministers, they were 
false apostles. 

5. As the name of " Caesar " is ordinarily applied to the 
twelve first Roman emperors, so the name of " apostle " is 
ordinarily applied to the twelve first ministers of the gospel, 
who had been permitted to converse with their Lord, even 
after his resurrection ; an<l to St. Paul, who was favoured 
with a glorious manifestation of his exalted Saviour. In 
this confined sense it is acknowledged, that the name of 
" apostU; " belongs, in an espeeial manner, to those Avho 
were sent forth l)y Christ, after having received their con- 
seer;ition and commission immediately from himself; but 
as the name of " Caesar," in a more general sense, may be 

YoL. V. K 



362 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

given to all the emperors of Rome, so the name of " apos- 
tle " may he applied to every minister of the everlasting 
gospel. Thus Bamahas, Andronicus, and Junia, who 
were neither of the number of the twelve, nor yet of the 
seventy were denominated " apostles," as well as St. Paul. 
Acts xiv. 14 ; Rom. xvi. 7- 

6. It is the invariable opinion of slothful Christians, that 
the zeal of ministers, and the piety of believers, in the 
present day, must necessarily fall far below what they 
were in the apostles' time, as though the promises of 
Christ were unhappily limited to the primitive church. 
This error has been frequently refuted in vain by a variety 
of Christian writers, since nothing can be more conform- 
able to that spirit of incredulity which reigns among us, 
than to renounce at once the most important promises of 
the new testament. Had the same promises been made 
respecting temporal honours and profits, we should see a 
different mode of conduct adopted ; " for the children of 
this world are, in their generation, wiser than the children 
of light." Luke xvi. 8. 

M. Roques bears the following testimony to the truth 
contended for in this place : " The ministers of the gospel 
esteem themselves, and with reason, the successors of the 
apostles : their employment is essentially the same, though 
the apostles were honoured with many glorious prero- 
gatives, as being the first to lay the foundation of the 
church." 

" The minister of Christ," says the same writer, " cannot 
be said vainly to flatter himself, when he counts upon the 
gracious assistance of his Master. He takes the promise 
of that Master for the solid foundation of his hope. ' I 
am with you alway,' said Christ to his apostles, and, in 
their persons to all those who should succeed them in 
the ministry, ' even unto the end of the world.' Matt, 
xxviii. 20." 

" It was this divine promise," continues he, " a promise 
more steadfast than earth or heaven, that filled the apos- 
tles Avith such an ardent zeal, as enabled them to ' rejoice 
evermore,' placing them above the fury of tjaants, and 
beyond the reach of fear ; assisting them to endure excess- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



363 



ive fatigue, and toilsome journeys, the inclemency of the 
seasons, and the resistance of obdurate hearts." Impressed 
with a just sense of this important promise, the venerable 
M'riter concludes with this fervent prayer : " Holy Jesus, 
who hast promised to continue for ever with thine apos- 
tles, and to give them that wisdom which no man shall 
ever be able to resist, give me to experience a participa- 
tion of these signal favours, that, animated by the same 
Spirit with which thy first disciples were inspired, I may 
lead some soul a happy captive to the obedience of thy 
word ! " These beautiful quotations will make their own 
apology for appearing in this place. 

7. If any are disposed to condemn M. Roques as an 
enthusiast in this point, they consider not how many 
great and honourable names they disgrace by such a pre- 
cipitate judgment, since all those pious fathers who are 
looked upon as the reformers of corrupted doctrines and 
degenerate manners were unanimously of the same 
opinion. 

From the preceding reflections, it seems but reason- 
able to conclude, that all the faithful ministers of Christ 
in every nation ai'e to be considered as the true 
successors of the apostles, and particularly of St. Paul, 
who, by way of eminence, is entitled " the apostle of 
the gentiles," and who, on that account, may, with the 
greater propriety, be proposed to them as a model. 



CHAPTER V 

A THIRD GBJKCTKJM REPLIED TO. 

TiiEY who will allow neither believers nor pastors to 
become imitators of St. Paul very rarely forget to propose 
a third objection against such imitation: "If you pre- 
tend," say they, "to be the apostles' successors, then 
prove your mission by the performance of miracles equal 
to theirs." 

r2 



364 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

To this objection we reply : — 

1. Thjrt no mention is made of the miracles of Andre-, 
nicus, Junia, and Barnabas, who were real apostles ; nor 
are any miracles attributed to Titus or Timothy, though 
they were the undoubted successors of the apostles. Fur- 
ther : it is expressly said, that " John the baptist," though 
he was greater than the prophets, " did no miracle." John 
X. 41. On the other hand, some miraculous gifts were 
common in the church of Corinth, even among those who 
were neither apostles nor evangelists ; and these gifts were 
so far from being essential to apostolic zeal, that many 
unworthy brethren, and many false apostles, as well as the 
traitor Judas, were endued with them. This we are 
taught, in the most express terms, by our Lord himself. 
Matt. vii. 22. 

2. If any of those pastors who make a profession of 
following St. Paul are observed to publish another gospel, or 
to depart from the order established by the apostles, the world 
has then reason to require miracles at their hand, as a de- 
monstration that their doctrines are divine, and that their 
recent customs are preferable to those which were for- 
merly adopted in the church of Christ. But if they sim- 
ply proclaim that glorious gospel which has been already 
confirmed by a thousand miracles, and are observed to 
adopt no other method than that of the apostles, it is 
absurd in the highest degree to insist upon miracles as the 
only sufficient evidences of their mission. From worldly 
pastors, such attestations of their sacred commission might 
with propriety be required. These are the persons who 
turn aside from the beaten track of Christ and his disci- 
ples, both with respect to doctrine and discipline ; and 
these should be required by the church to give incontesta- 
ble proofs that their novel customs are better than those of 
St. Paul and the ancient evangelists. 

3. No sufficient reason can be given why the humble 
imitators of St. Paul should be required to evidence their 
spiritual mission by extraordinary actions. On the one 
hand, they do but simply declare those religious truths of 
which they have had the most convincing experience • and 
on the other, they earnestly solicit the wicked to become 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 365 

partakers of the same invaluable blessings with themselves. 
Xow, the certainty of such declaration, and the sincerity of 
such invitation, may be solidly established upon two kinds of 
proof : the first, upon those proofs which support the gospel 
in general; and the second, upon the holy conduct of those 
who bear this testimony and repeat these invitations, by 
which they demonstrate the efficacy of their doctrine, and 
indisputably prove, that true Christians are " dead indeed 
unto sin, but alive unto God." Rom. vi. 11. That pastor 
who is unable to produce the former proofs cannot possi- 
bly be regarded as a true successor of the great apostle ; 
and he whose uniform conduct is insufficient to supply the 
latter is no other than a false apostle. 

4. External miracles, which effect no change in the 
heart, nor rescue the soul from a state of spiritual blind- 
ness and death, — miracles which serve only to repair the 
organs of a body that must shortly be consigned to the 
grave, — miracles which tend merely to modify matter, 
such as causing green trees to wither, withered trees to 
spring, and water to gush out of the flinty rock : mira- 
cles of this nature are far less important than those which 
cause the thorns of vice to Avither, the seeds of grace to 
spring, and streams of sacred consolation to flow through 
those very hearts which were formerly barren as a desert, 
and hard as the rock that Moses smote. 

.'). " If you wish for miracles," says a Christian Avriter, 
" if you are anxious to experience them in yourselves ; 
if, in the secret of your heart, you would become wit- 
nesses of his almighty power, by whom that heart was 
formed; then ask of him that sublime virtue, tliat charity, 
from which all your inclinations and habits detain you at 
so vast a distance, that you are in no situation to form 
any just idea of it, nor even to conceive the possibility 
of its existence." I'rofessor Crousaz's Sermon upon 1 Cor. 
xiii. 13. 

0. That divine charity, and those sacred consolations, 
which were as a " well of water springing up into 
<'verlasting life" in the hearts of Christ's first disciples, 
may be made to abound even in ours. Since the 
source of these inestimable blessings can never be 



366 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

exhausted ; Heb. xiii. 8 ; and the faithful, who expe- 
rience iif themselves this gracious miracle, stand in need 
of no other prodigy to establish them in the faith of the 
gospel. 

7. The most important miracles were those which were 
wrought by the apostles when, as fellow- workers together 
with God, they opened the eyes of sinners, turning them 
"from darkness to light, and from the power of satan 
unto God:" Acts xxvi. 18: true miracles of mercy these, 
and memorable conversions, which the word of God, in 
the mouths of his ministers, is continually operating in 
every age. 

8. The charity which is discovered by a faithful pastor, 
who humbly co-operates with God in the conversion of 
his inveterate enemies, should be regarded by the world 
as the truest test of his apostleship. " Whether there be 
prophecies, they shall fail ; whether there be tongues, 
they shall cease ; but charity never faileth. And though 
I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains," and 
perform the most unheard of prodigies, " if I have not 
charity, I am nothing." 1 Cor. xiii. 

The preceding replies are abundantly sufficient to de- 
monstrate the weakness of their third objection, who are 
the professed enemies of the apostolic zeal. 



CHAPTER YI. 

A FOURTH OBJECTION REFUTED. 

The objection here proposed has been abundantly more 
prejudicial to the cause of piety, than any of the pre- 
ceding : " You suppose," say formal professors, " that 
every pastor is called to labour for the salvation of souls 
in the present day with all that zeal which animated St. 
Paul in primitive times. But their circumstances differ 
in a very material way. The apostles were commissioned 
to preach the gospel, either to obstinate Jews or idolatrous 
heathens ; whereas our pastors are called to exercise their 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 367 

ministry among such as have received the truth from their 
earliest infancy. Is it not, then, contrary to common 
sense, that the same laborious efforts should be thought 
necessary for the instruction of Christians Avhich St. Paul 
was formerly constrained to make use of for the conversion 
of idolaters ?" 

As this specious objection has been more frequently 
repeated than properly refuted, it becomes necessary, in 
this place, to expose all its weakness, and to demonstrate, 
that the difference between sinners who are baptized, and 
those Avith whom St. Paul had to do, is by no means in 
favour of indolent pastors. 

1. There are found swarms of infidels and idolaters in 
every Christian country upon earth. "We need not look 
beyond protestant churches to discover multitudes of 
impious Christians who not only despise the gospel in 
secret, but who even dare to make it the subject of pub- 
lic ridicule ; — men who " have set up their idols in their 
hearts ;" Ezekiel xiv. 3 ; and who perfectly answer to the 
apostle's description of degenerate professors." 2 Timothy 
iii. 2—5. 

2. St. Paul himself sufficiently answers this very objec- 
tion, as follows : " In Christ Jesus neither circumcision 
availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new crea- 
ture ; and as many as walk according to this rule, peace 
be on them." Gal. vi. J 5, 16. If there are any who make 
a profession of receiving the Christian faith, and who 
follow not this evangelical rule, the apostle thus addresses 
them with an holy warmth : " Examine yourselves, whe- 
ther ye be in the faith-; prove your ownselves. Know ye 
not your oAvnselves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, 
except ye be reprobates?" 2 Cor. xiii. 5. "Be not de- 
ceived ; neither covetous persons, nor drunkards, nor 
revllers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of 
God." 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. 

3. Observe how the same objection is combated again 
in another of St. Paul's epistles : Behold, thou art called 
a Christian, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest 
his will, being instructed out of the twofold law of Moses 
and of Christ. Thou, that makest thy boast of this law ; 



368 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

if thou, through breaking the law, dishonourest God, the 
name of God is then blasphemed among the gentiles 
through you. " Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, 
whosoever thou art, that judgest" the heathen as sinners 
more hopeless than thyself : " for wherein thou judgest 
another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest 
doest the same things. And thinkest thou, O man," that 
thy privileges unimproved will assist thee " to escape the 
judgment of God ? Or despisest thou the riches of his 
goodness ; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth 
thee to repentance?" Beware lest, "after the hardness 
of thine impenitent heart, thou treasurest up unto thy- 
self wrath against the day of wrath." Rom. ii. 1 — 24. 

4. If every scriptural threatening is denounced against 
those who are vdthout that holiness which the gospel 
requires, it would ill become us to flatter either ourselves 
or others with being the true followers of Christ, merely 
on account of that external profession of Christianity 
which is generally apparent among us. Is it not unde- 
niably evident, that such a profession, unless it be accom-r 
panied with strict holiness, will subject us to more and 
heavier stripes than if we had never known the will of 
our heavenly Father, nor ever acknowledged Christ as our 
rightful Lord ? Luke xii. 47, 48. Did not our gracious 
Master himself once openly manifest a greater degree of 
abhorrence toward the lukewarm Christian, than toward 
the notorious sinner ? Eev. iii. 16. And has he not 
plainly declared, that myriads of righteous heathens shall 
be permitted to sit down in the kingdom of God, while 
multitudes of his professing people shall be cast into outer 
darkness ? Luke xiii. 28, 29. 

5. After infants have been baptized, and after young 
persons have been admitted to the holy communion, the 
true pastor, instead of taking it for granted that they are 
become unfeigned Christians by partaking of these ordi- 
nances, examines them with diligence from time to time ; 
and, from an attentive observation of their conduct, forms 
a judgment of their faith. If, after the strictest scrutiny, 
he discovers some among them who hold the form with- 
out experiencing the power of godliness, he renews his 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 369 

work with increasing ardour. The most painful part of 
his duty is still before him, when he attempts to convert 
those sinners who are baptized, and those infidels who are 
communicants ; since, before he can lead them to that 
'■' faith which worketh by love," as St. Paul was accus- 
tomed to lead unprejudiced heathens, he must first un- 
mask them with a holy severity, as the blessed Jesus was 
accustomed to unmask the pharisees of his day. 

6. If unregenerate Christians are heathens by their 
worldly disposition ; if they are pharisees by their pre- 
sumption, and confiiined in their pharisaism by the falla- 
cious opinions they indulge of their prerogatives under the 
gospel ; it follows, that every modem pastor is called to a 
performance of the twofold duty above described. And if 
this be the case, how unreasonable is it to imagine, that 
the ministers of our own time have a much less difficult 
task before them than those who were formerly commis- 
sioned to publish the gospel ! 

7. All pastors have an important task assigned them ; 
and, till this is performed, they are required to labour 
without fainting. Observe in what this task consists : 
" He that descended from heaven," saith St. Paul, " gave 
some, apostles ; and some, pastors and teachers ; for the 
perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for 
the edifying of the body of Ohrist : till we all come," both 
pastors and flocks, '' unto the measure of the stature of the 
fulness of Christ." Ephes. iv. 10 — 13. When every Chris- 
tian has attained to this exalted state, the ministers of the 
gospel may then assert their work to be complete, and 
need imitate no longer the diligence of St. Paul. But 
wliile we are surrounded Avith baptized swearers, sabbath- 
breakers, slanderers, gamesters, drunkards, gluttons, de- 
l)auchees, blasphemers, and hypocrites, who are usino- 
every effort to render Christianity despicable before infidels, 
and execrable in the eyes of philosophers, at such a time 
it cannot be reasonably imagined that any individual 
labourer is permitted to stand idle in the spiritual vine- 
yard. And yet, in this very time of universal degeneracy, 
there are not wanting many among us, who inconsiderately 
cry out, " .St. Paul, without doubt, had reason to labour 



370 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL* 

with unremitting assiduity for the conversion of idolatrous, 
heathens'; but we are converted already, and see no neces- 
sity for that burning zeal, and those strenuous efforts, 
among our modem teachers, which were formerly com- 
mendable in that apostle." 

8. If it be objected, that Christians are here represented 
in a more deplorable point of view than candour or obser- 
vation can warrant, we make our appeal to those procla- 
mations which have been made with a view to repress 
the single sin of profaning the name of God by impious 
oaths and horrible imprecations. These must undoubtedly 
be considered as public testimonies of public guilt. In 
such proclamations every Christian government, whether 
catholic or protestant, equally complain, that all the civil 
laws, by which they have endeavoured to enforce the law 
of God, have proved insufficient to prevent the overflow- 
ings of a crime, as insipid as it is disgraceful. In vain 
have new penalties and punishments been decreed ; in vain 
are they constantly held forth from the pulpits of preachers 
and the thrones of kings : this despicable vice still reigns 
undisturbed among us, insulting over the broken laws of 
earth and heaven. Now, if it has hitherto been found 
impossible to prevent the commission of a sin which has 
neither pleasure nor profit to plead in its favour, what can 
we expect of all those thousand vices which allure with 
promises of both? Are not dissimulation and perjury, 
injustice and covetousness, lasciviousness and luxury appa- 
rent among the members of every church ? Do not rapine, 
revenge, and murder defile every part of Christendom, in 
spite of prisons, banishment, and death ? It is a truth too 
notorious to be controverted, that every crime with which 
human nature has ever been polluted is still continually 
practised in the most enlightened parts of the world. 

We might here mention, if it were necessary, the con- 
tempt in which marriage is held, the instability of that 
holy estate, and the facility with which so sacred a bond 
is broken. We might go on to bewail the frequent com- 
mission of suicide in Christian communities. But to speak 
of these with many other sins, which are increasing around 
lis to an alarming degree, would be only to echo back 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 371 

those sad complaints which are every day breathed from 
the lips of the righteous. The above remarks may possi- 
bly appear uncharitable to some ; but, if they are without 
foundation, how many unmeaning expressions do we find 
in our liturgy ! what hypocrisy in our public confessions ! 
what false humility in our prayers ! 

From all these observations, it is evident, that the most 
heathenish manners are common among Christians, so 
called ; and that the first scandalous vices are prevalent, 
even in those countries where reformed Christianity has 
erected its standard. Let the impartial inquirer then 
declare, whether it be not peculiarly necessary to preach 
repentance among those whose rebellion against God is 
accompanied with perfidiousness and hypocrisy ? 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED. 

1. Were it even certain, that professing Christians in 
general walk according to their holy vocation, would it be 
commendable in pastors to show less concern for the salva- 
tion of Christ's apparent disciples, than was anciently dis- 
covered by St. Paul for the conversion of persecuting 
heathens? Christians are our brethren. The church, our 
common mother, has nourished us with the same spiritual 
milk, and calls us to a participation of the same lieavenly 
inheritance. Christians are no more strangers ; and even 
those who are bad citizens, and unfaithful domestics, are 
lU'vcrtlieless in some sense citizens of the same city with 
ourselves, and "of the household of God." Eph. ii. 19. 
Hence, as we compose ])ut one household, so Avlienever we 
arc disposed to negleet any part of this family, we may 
apply to ourselves the following words of the apostle : " If 
any provide not for his own, and especially for those of 
his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than 
an infidel." I Tim. v. 8. Let ministers, then, be placed in 
the happiest imaginable circumstances, and it will still 



372 POUTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

become tliem to cry out, with the pious benevolence of' 
St. Paul,' " As we have opportunity, let us do good unto 
all men, especially unto them who are of the household of 
faith." Gal. vi. 10. 

2. We may here pursue the idea which Christ himself 
has given us, by comparing his church to a vineyard. If 
it be necessary to graft those stocks which are naturally 
wild ; is it less necessary to cultivate those which have 
been already grafted ? We see the husbandman bestow- 
ing most culture upon those vines which produce the 
most excellent fruit. Let ministers attend to this general 
rule ; and since they only can be fruitful in the sacred 
vineyard who receive the word of God in faith, let them 
study to train up believers to the highest state of maturity. 
Thus the heavenly husbandman is represented as purging 
every fruitful branch, " that it may bring forth more 
fruit." John xv. 2. 

3. The word of God must be offered to sinners as a 
remedy suited to the disease of their souls : but to the 
faithful it must be administered as nourishing food. 
Hence, as the order of grace resembles that of nature, it is 
necessary, in a spiritual sense, to minister nutriment to the 
healthy in much greater quantities, than medicine to those 
who are diseased. Thus believers, who constantly hunger 
and thirst after greater degrees of grace, should more fre- 
quently receive the " living word," that they " may abound 
yet more and more in knowledge," till they are "filled 
with the fruits of righteousness." Philip, i. 9, 11. 

4. We find the following expressions in the epistle of 
St. Paul to the Romans : " I am persuaded of you, my 
brethren, that ye are full of goodness, filled with all know- 
ledge, able to admonish one another. Nevertheless I have 
vrritten the more boldly unto you, as putting you in mind." 
And " I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some 
spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established." Rom. xv. 
14, 15 ; i. 11. Now, if St. Paul could express so earnest 
a desire to instruct those Christians who were perfect 
strangers to him, and who were already so divinely enlight- 
ened ; far from being imitators of this great apostle, do we 
not forfeit all pretensions to charity, while we suffer those 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 373 

ignorant Christians to perish "for lack of knowledge," 
(liosea iv. <>.) who are not only of our neighbourhood, but 
probably of our very parish ? 

5. Thou'di St. Paul was assisted with miraculous en- 
dowments, yet how anxiously did he endeavour to fill up 
the twofold duties of a believer in Christ, and a minister 
of his gospel ! And shall we refuse to labour ^viih equal 
earnestness whose gifts are so mean, and whose graces are 
so inconsiderable ? Appointed, like the primitive preach- 
ers of Christianity, to be fishers of men, is it not perfectly 
reasonable, that Ave should manifest as great activity with 
our feeble lines, as St. Paul was accustomed to discover in 
the use of his capacious net ? If that apostle, filled with 
holy zeal, Avas enabled to convert more sinners by a single 
discourse, than many pastors are known to convert m a 
thousand sermons, should we not, by our uncommon 
assiduity, supply, as much as possible, the Avant of that 
incomprehensible energy Avhich accompanied his ministerial 
labours ? 

6. ^Ministers are compared to labourers, Avho go forth to 
cultiA'ate the lands of their master. Noav St. Paul, as the 
foremost of these labourers, Avrought night and day Avith 
an extraordinary instrument, Avhich marked out furroAVS 
of an uncommon depth, and ploughed up entire provinces 
on a sudden. He made the fullest proof of his ministry, 
and, by the most astonishing eiforts, spread the seed of 
the gospel " from Jerusalem, round about to Illyricum." 
Roui. XV. 19. IIoAv A'ast a difference between the former 
and latter pastors of the Christian church ! Many of U9 
arc content to stand altogether idle, till " the night cometh, 
in Avhich no man can Avork ;" John ix. 4 ; Avhile others, 
Avho arc dispo.s('(l to some little occupaiion, employ them- 
selves as Avorkmen Avho have need to be utterly ashamed 
of their insignificant labours. 2 Tim. ii. 15. At best Ave 
hold but a tardy instrument ; an instrument Avhich Avith 
immense toil will but barely graze the eartli Ave are called 
to cultivate. And shall Ave, thus unhappily circumstanced, 
permit our ploughshares to gather rust during six successive 
days, and then leisurely employ them but for an hour upon 
the seventh ? Surely such a mode of conduct is as 



374 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAtJL. 

contrary ^to common sense as to the example St. Paul has 
left us. 

7. So astonishing is the inconstancy, the weakness, and 
the depravity of the human heart, that in spite of all the 
persevering industry of this apostle in the vineyard of his 
Lord, it still brought forth briers and thorns, to the anguish 
of his soul. '• Behold," saith he to the Corinthians, " the 
third time I am ready to come unto you, for your 
edifying. For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find 
you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you 
such as ye would not ; lest there be debates, envyings, 
wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults ; 
and lest, when I come, my God will humble me among 
you, and that I should bewail many Avhich have sinned 
ah-eady, and have not repented." 2 Cor. xii. 14, 19 — 21. 

"We shall close this chapter by proposing the following 
queries, which may be reasonably grounded upon the pre- 
ceding passage. If the natural and supernatural talents 
of St. Paul ; if his zeal, his diligence, and his apostolic 
authority, were insufficient to engage his flock to conduct 
themselves as followers of Christ ; if their want of piety 
drew from him tears of lamentation, and obliged him to 
renew his painful efforts with redoubled solicitude ; can 
those pastors be said to possess the spirit of the gospel, 
who behold with indifference the disorders of that falling 
church which Christ has purchased with his OAvn blood ? 
And if the extraordinary labours of St. Paul were not 
sufficient fully to answer the design of the sacred ministry, 
is it not presumption indeed to imagine, that our trivial 
services are suJBficiently complete ? 



CHAPTER YIII. 

A FURTHER REPLY TO THE SAME OBJECTION, 

"When we attack a prejudice that is obstinately defended, 
it is frequently as needful to multiply arguments, as it is 
necessary in a siege to multiply assaults. Pursuing this 
method, we shall endeavour upon new grounds to 



PORTRAIT OF 8T. PAUL. 375 

establish the doctrine contended for in the two last 
chapters. 

1. After exhorting Timothy to labour without ceasing, 
St. Paul assigns the following reason for such injunction : — • 
" Know," saith he, " that in the last times " of the Chris- 
tian church, "men" who make a profession of faith 
" shall be lovers of their ownselves, despisers of those that 
are good ; lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God ; 
having a form of godliness, but denying the power 
thereof." 2 Tim. iii. 1 — 5. Now, if Timothy was ex- 
horted to use all diligence in opposing those evils which 
were then only making their approach, is it reasonable 
that we should be remiss, who are unhappy enough to see 
those "' last times " in which the decay of piety predicted 
by the apostle is become universal ? On the contrary, is 
not this the moment in which we should strenuously 
resist the overflowings of ungodliness, and fortif}'- those 
who are not yet swept away by the impetuous torrent ? 

2. When the great apostle benevolently carried the 
word of God to sinners of every different nation, he 
thereby armed against himself the authority of magis- 
trates and priests, as well Jewish as pagan. His universal 
philanthropy exposed him to the most cruel persecutions. 
Thousands, and ten thousands, were set in array against 
him; and the inhabitants of every kingdom seemed deter- 
mined to resist or destroy him in his spiritual progress. 
He saw these surrounding dangers, but he saw them with- 
out discovering any symptom of fear ; and rather than 
discontinue his painful labours, he cheerfully proceeded to 
encounter every threatening evil. AVe, on the contrary, 
are appointed to build up the children of the kingiloin in 
" their most holy faith." And shall we labour less, be- 
cause we can labour with less danger ? Sliall we neglect 
the duties of our sacred function, beeause our superiors in 
church and state permit us to convert sinners, command 
us to preach the gospel, erect us temphs for the public 
celebration of divine worship, and allow us salaries, that 
our ministry may n<!ver be interruj)ted by secular cares ? 
The ministerial services, whieii >St. Paul performed with 
such unabating zeal when his reward was imprisonment 



376 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

and stripes, must we be engaged to discharge by emolu- 
ments and honours ? And, after all, shall we limit 
ciir constrained obedience precisely to that point which 
will merely secure us from public deposition and dis- 
grace ? 

3. What was the error of Demas ; a man as notorious 
by his fall among the evangelists, as Judas among the 
apostles ? Demas " loved this present world," (2 Tim. iy. 
10,) and, ceasing to imitate the diligence of St. Paul, un- 
gratefully left him to labour almost without a second. 
And will unfaithful evangelists presume, that they may 
imitate Avithout fear the apostasy of Demas, and renounce 
with impunity the example of St. Paul ? If such is their 
unhappy persuasion, we submit the following queries to 
their serious consideration. Are the souls of men less 
valuable ; is sin of any kind less detestable, or the law of 
God less severe, in the present day, than in the earlier 
ages of the Christian church ? Have pastors a right to be 
remiss, while the night of incredulity is blackening around 
them ? Are the attacks of antichristian philosophers less 
frequent and audacious at present, than in former times ? 
Or, finally, is the appearance of our omnipotent Judge no 
longer expected in the world ? 

4. If the apostles and primitive pastors have removed 
many threatening impediments out of our way; if they 
have procured for us our present advantages, by the most 
amazing exertions, and at the prodigious price of their 
blood ; surely it can never be imagined, that they acted 
with so much resolution, and suffered with so much con- 
stancy, that we might become the indolent readers of 
their unparalleled history. Was it not rather, that, ani- 
mated with a becoming sense of their great example, we 
might make the highest improvement of our inestimable 
privileges ? 

5. The mountains are now laid low, the valleys are filled 
up, the crooked ways are made straight, and we have only to 
carry that salvation to sinners for which such wonderful 
preparations have been made. And are we negligent in 
running on the errands of everlasting love ? And are we 
backward in bearing the happiest tidings to the most hap- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 377 

less of creatures ? Xo excuse then can possibly be made 
for this coldness, except that -which the author of 
" Eniilius " has put into the mouth of a fictitious charac- 
ter : '' Of 'vvhat importance is it to me," says the vicar 
Savoyard, " what becomes of the -wicked ? I am but little 
concerned in their future destiny." An excuse for the 
-want of zeal, -which can never be pleaded -^^■ithout reflect- 
ing the utmost disgrace upon humanity. 

6. Ye pastors of a flock ever prone to -wander ! choose 
■whom you -will follow, philosophers or apostles ; the inde- 
fatijxable zeal of St. Paul, or the cruel indifference of the 
sceptical vicar. But, if you take the latter for your model, 
we solemnly entreat you to lay aside the profession, while 
you so shamefully renounce the duties, of the holy ministry. 
'" As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the 
death of the wicked ; but that the wicked turn from his 
way, and live." Ezek. xxxiii. 11. With you, however, it 
is a matter of very inconsiderable importance, whether the 
wicked be finally saved or destroyed. And yet, careless 
as you are of its weal or woe, you presume to appear as 
ministers of the church, and as pastors over that little 
flock for which the good Shepherd was content to lay 
down his lite. I'o rank with the watchful attendants of 
the fold is an honour of which you are altogether un- 
worthy; but vou may with ])ropriety be counted in the 
number of those unjrrateiul hirelings who '■'■ care not for 
the -lieeji." John \. 13. 

{!. It is true vou are not Avithout companions, as well 
ancient as modern. You have Ilojthni and Phinehas, 
(lehazi and Balaam, to keep you in countenance ; you 
have the prophets of .lezelx 1 to plead in your favour, 
and cviiy worldly eeelesiastic of the present day to ap- 
]>rove your choice But ajiostolieal men will icsolutelv 
withstand y<^'u, like h'lisha and his master, in th<^ cause of 
deserted truth. 

Ye slothful domestics of the most diligent .Master! 
ve (^ruel attendants of the teiiderest Shepherd ! say, have 
ve never heard that Master crying out, with the veiee of 
affection, '• I'eed my sheep?" John xxi 17- Have ye 
not seen him conducting his flock to an evangelical pas- 



378 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

ture, in the temple, in synagogues, in villages, in houses, 
in deserts, on the sea-shore, and on the tops of mountains : 
He anxiously sought out the miserable. Truth was the 
guide of his way, charity accompanied his steps, and his 
path was marked with blessings. His secret efforts were 
more painful than his public labours : he publicly instructed 
through the day, but he privately agonized in prayer 
through the night. His first disciples were anxious to tread 
in the steps of their adorable blaster. They exercised 
their ministry within sight of torments and death. And 
will you dare to neglect it now the cry of persecution is 
hushed ? "Will you equally despise both the promises and 
threateniiigs of the gospel ? AYill you hasten the times 
of antichrist, by an antichristian conduct ? And when 
the Son of man shall come, shall he find you trampling 
under foot the gospel of his grace ? or shall he surprise 
you distributing cards round the tables of your friends, 
rather than earnestly inviting those friends to the table of 
your Lord ? 

O that we could prevail upon you to stand in your 
proper post, and act in conformity to your professional 
character ! While you dream of security, you are sur- 
rounded with the most alarming dangers. " Stand there- 
fore, baring your loins girt about with truth ; having on 
the breastplate of righteousness, and yom- feet shod with 
the preparation of the gospel of peace ; above all, taking 
the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench 
all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet 
of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the 
word of God ; praying always with all prayer, and watch- 
ing thereunto with all perseverance and supplications for 
all saints," and for the ministers of the gospel in parti- 
cular, '• that they may open their mouth boldly, to make 
known the mystery of the gospel," and to diffuse abroad 
" the unsearchable riches of Christ." Eph. vi. 14 — 19 ; 
iii. 8. Thus, quitting yourselves like men in this sacred 
warfare, after steadily resisting, you shall finally overcome 
all the strength of the enemy, " by the word of truth, by 
the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the 
right hand and on the left;" 2 Cor. vi. 7 j till, having 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 379 

weathered out the evil daj', continuing " faithful unto 

death," ye shall he rewarded with "a crown of" ever- 
lasting •' life." Rev. ii. 10. 



CHAPTER IX. 

A FURTHER REFUTATION OF THE SAME OBJECTION. 

1. When we see a number of persons in perilous cir- 
cumstances, charity constrains us to make our first efforts 
in favour of those who appear to be in the most imminent 
danger. Such are unholy Christians. Sinful heathens 
are doubtless in danger ; obstinate Jews in still greater 
peril ; but impenitent Christians are in a situation abun- 
dantly more lamentable than either, since they offend 
against clearer light and knowledge, equally inattentive 
to the most gracious promises on the one hand, and the 
most terrible menaces on the other. To sin with the new 
testament in our hand, and with the sound of the gnspd 
in our cars ; to sin with the seal of l>a})tisin in our fore- 
head, and the name of Chn^t in our lips ; to sin, and 
receive the holy communion ; to ratify and break the 
most solemn engagements ; uhat is this, but rarncvtiy 
labouring out our own damnation, and plunging ourselves 
into those abysses of wretchedness which jiagans and Jews 
are unable to fathom? How eagerlv, tlu-n, should every 
believer attemjtt to rescue liis falling brethren ! and espe- 
cially, liow anxious should they be to arrest those leaders 
of the blind who are drawing on their followers to the 
brink of perdition! As tliis is one of those arguments upon 
which the truth here jileatbd for must ]Mineipally rest, Ave 
shall consider it in the several points of view under which 
it is presented to us in the gosp( 1. 

2. The commission of St. Paul was particularly di- 
rected to the gentib's ; yet, belore be visited their 
benighted nations, he judged it his duty to make a full 
and free offer of the everlasting gos|Hl to the people of the 
Jews. For the conduct of the apostle in this respect the 



380 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

following reasons are to be assigned : — First, tlie promises 
pertained to the Jews in a peculiar manner. Rom. ix. 4. Se- 
condly, the children of Abraham, according to the flesh, had 
a more threatening prospect before them, in case of final im 
penitence, than any other people upon earth : " Tribulation 
and anguish shall be upon every soul of man that doeth 
evil, of the Jew first, and also of the gentile." Rom. 
ii. 9. 

3. The same reasons, though chiefly the latter, are still 
to be urged, why the ministers of Christ should princi- 
pally labour among Christians. For, if sinners of the cir- 
cumcision shall be more severely punished than the igno- 
rant heathen, so the apostle declares, that sinners who are 
baptized into the name of Christ shall be treated with still 
greater rigour than impenitent Jews. " He that despised 
Moses's law," saith he, " died without mercy under two or 
three witnesses ; of how much sorer punishment," then, 
"suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath 
trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath done despite 
unto the Spirit of grace ? " Heb. x. 28, 29. If this consi- 
deration was accompanied with its due efi'ect, it would fire 
us with the most unconquerable zeal for the salvation of 
negligent Christians. 

4. In one of the last discourses our Lord addressed to 
the cities of Galilee, we find him reading over them this 
dreadful sentence of condemnation : " Woe unto thee, 
Chorazin ! woe unto thee, Bethsaida ! for if the mighty 
works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre 
and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sack- 
cloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more 
tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than 
for you. And thou, Capernaum, which," by thy religious 
privileges, " art exalted unto heaven, shalt," for the non- 
improvement of them, " be brought down to hell." Yea, 
" it shall be more tolerable in the day of judgment for 
the land of Sodom," which has been already consumed 
with fire from above, " than foj- thee." Matt. xi. 21 — 24. 

5. To draw the just consequences from this afi*ecting 
menace, we must recollect, that, when it was pronounced, 
the inhabitants of the above-mentioned cities had been 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 381 

favoured but for a very short interval with the ministry 
of Christ and his messengers ; and if the death and resur- 
rection of Jesus -were afterwards pul)lislied among them, it 
is more than probable, that these important facts were 
published only in a desultory and transient way. Never- 
theless, the sinners of Capernaum w^ere thought worthy 
of greater punishment than the sinners of Sodom. Hence 
we conclude, that if the sinners of London, Paris, Rome, 
and Geneva have hardened themselves against the truths 
of the gospel for a much longer continuance than the 
citizens of Capernaum were permitted to do, there is 
every reason to apprehend, that their sentence will not 
only be more dreadful than the sentence of Sodom, but 
abundantly less tolerable than that which was pronoimced 
upon the inhabitants of Galilee. 

6. '^^'hile we consider the various proportions in which 
future punishment shall be administered to the wicked of 
diflerent classes, we may turn to those remarkable expres- 
sions of St. Peter and St. Paul : " If after having escajied 
the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, tluy are again entangled 
therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them 
than the beginning. For it had been better for tbeni not 
to have known tlie way of righteousness, than, after they 
have known it, to turn from the holy eomnuindnient deli- 
vered unto them." 2 Peter ii. 20, 21. ^' If we sin wilfully 
after we have received the kno^vlc•(]ge of the truth, there 
remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful 
looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which 
shall devour the adversari<s." Uch. x. 2(j, 27- 'rii(S(> 
declarations assist us to discover the true ground of that 
apostolic exhortation Avith which we shall close this chap- 
ter : " Of some have eonijiassion, making a difierence ; 
and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire." 
Jude 22, 23. 

From this last view of the subject, we may perceive 
into how dangerous an error those persons are fallen 
who presume to object against imitating the zeal of St. 
Paul. 



382 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

CHAPTER X. 

A FIFTH OBJECTION ANSWERED. 

The solidity of the preceding remarks may be acknow- 
ledged by many pastors, who will still excuse themselves 
from copying the example of St. Paul. 

" It is unreasonable," they will say, " to require that we 
should preach the word of God, in season and out of 
season, as St. Paul once did, and as Timothy was after- 
wards exhorted to do. We find it, in this day, a matter 
of difficulty to prepare any public address, that may be 
either acceptable to the people, or honourable to our- 
selves." 

To this objection we return the following replies : — 

1. He who spake as never man spake rejected the arts 
of our modern orators, delivering his discourses in a style 
of easy simplicity and unaffected zeal. 

2. We do not find that St. Paul and the other apostles 
imposed upon themselves the troublesome servitude of 
penning down their discourses. And we are well assured 
that when the seventy and the twelve were commissioned 
to publish the gospel, no directions of this nature were 
given in either case. 

3. St. Paul gives the following pastoral instructions to 
Timothy : — " Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, 
to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee. Medi- 
tate upon these things ; give thyself Avholly to them. 
Take heed unto thyself, and to the doctrine ; continue in 
them : for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and 
them that hear thee." 1 Tim. iv. 13 — 1 6. " Preach the 
word ; be instant in season, out of season ; reprove, re- 
buke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." 2 Tim. 
iv. 2. Now, had it ever entered into the mind of the 
apostle, that it would be proper for pastors to compose 
their sermons in the manner of rhetoricians, and to deliver 
them as public orators, he would most probably have given 
some intimation of this to his disciple. In such case he 
would have held out to his pupil in divinity some instruc- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. I'AUL. 383 

tion of tlie following nature : — " O Timothy, my son, I 
have frequently commanded thee to lahour in the Avoik of 
the Lord according to my example ; hut as thou art not 
an apostle, properly so called, and hast not received the 
gift of languages, I advise thee to Avrite over thy sermons 
as correctly as possible. And after this do not fail to 
rehearse them before a mirror, till thou art able to repeat 
them with freedom and grace ; so that when thou art 
called upon public duty, thou mayest effectually secure the 
approbation of thine auditors. Furthermore : when thou 
art about to visit any distant churches, lay up in thy port- 
manteau the choicest of th}' sermons ; and wherever thou 
art, take care to have, at least, one discourse about thee, 
that thou mayest be prepared against any sudden emer- 
gency, and never appear unfurnished in the eyes of the 
people." The idea of such a passage in the epistles of 
f>r. Paul, whether public or private, is too absurd to be 
endured. 

4. If advocates, after hastily considering a question of 
difficulty, are ready to plead the cause of their client 
before a court of judicature, can it bo possible that, after 
sovcral years of meditation and study, a minister should 
still 1)0 utiprepared to plead the oatiso of piety bolure a 
plain assembly (if his unlearned parishioners ? 

."). When we arc deeplv interested in a subject of the 
last importance, do we tiiink it nooossary to draw up our 
arguuKiits in an ordorly mai\ner upon pajxr, before we 
attempt to deliver our sentiments upon the matter in 
hand ^ Are not the love and penetration of a ]>areiit 
sutlieient to dictate such advice as is suited to the dilfereiit 
tempers and conditions of his cliildreii ? Alter jiereeiviiig 
the house of our neighbour on fire, we do not withdraw to 
our closet to prepare a variety of alVecting arguments, by 
way of engaging him to save both himself and his family 
from the ilatues. In such case, a lively eouvietion of our 
neighbour's danger, and an ardent desire to rescue him 
from it, aftbrd us greater powers of natural elofjuence than 
anv rules of art can furnish us with. 

(!. llojace observes, that neither matter nor method will 
be wanting upon a well-digested subject : — 



384 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

Cui lecta patenter erit res, 
Neofacundia deseret hune, nee lucidus ordo. 

"With how much facility, then, may suitable expressions 
be expected to follow those animating sentiments which 
are inspired by an ardent love to God and man ; espe- 
cially when subjects of such universal concern are agitated 
as death and redemption, judgment and eternity ! Upon 
such occasions, " out of the abundance of the heart the 
mouth will speak;" "nor will the preacher be able to 
repeat a tenth part of the truths which God has commu- 
nicated to him, while meditating upon his text." Act of 
Synod, chap. xl. If malice can furnish those persons 
with an inexhaustible fund of conversation who delight in 
scandal, how much more may we suppose the charity of 
a pastor to furnish him with an inexhaustible fund of 
exhortation, instruction, and comfort! 

7. It has been a plea with many ministers of the gospel, 
that they neglect to proclaim that gospel during six days 
in the week, lest they should be unprepared to address 
their parishioners with propriety upon the seventh. With 
teachers who are thus scrupulously tenacious of their own 
reputation, we may justly be allowed to reason in the 
following manner : — " To what purpose are all those ora- 
torical appendages with which you are so studious to 
adorn your discourses ? and ' who hath required ' all 
'this' useless labour 'at your hand?'" Isaiah i. 11, 12. 
If a servant, after being charged by his master with a 
message of the utmost importance, should betake himself 
to his chamber, and defer the execution of it day after 
day, would not such a delay be esteemed an unpardonable 
neglect? Or if he should attempt to apologize for the 
omission, by alleging that he had been busily engaged in 
learning to repeat with precision the message he had 
received, and to move upon his errand with dignity and 
grace, would not such an excuse be regarded as an 
instance of the highest presumption and folly ? And can 
we imagine that our heavenly Master will overlook that 
neglect in his public messengers which would appear, in 
the conduct of a private domestic, so justly condemnable ? 

8. What advantage has accrued to the church by 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 3P>.') 

renouncing the apostolic method of publishing the gospel ? 
We have indolence and artifice, in the place of sincerity 
and vigilance. Those public discourses which were an- 
ciently the effects of conviction and zeal are now become 
the weekly exercises of learning and art. " We believe, 
and therefore speak," (2 Cor. iv. 13,) is an expression that 
has grown entirel)'^ obsolete among modern pastors ; but 
nothing is more common among us than to say, " As we 
have sermons prepared upon a variety of subjects, we are 
ready to deliver them as opportunity offers." 

9. ]\Iany inconveniences arise from that method of 
preaching which is generally adopted in the present day. 
While the physician of souls is labouring to compose a 
learned dissertation upon some plain passage of scripture, 
he has but little leisure to visit those languishing patients 
who need his immediate assistance. He thinks it suffi- 
cient to attend them every sabbath-day, in the place 
appointed for public duty ; but he recollects not, that 
those to whom his counsel is peculiarly necessiirv arc the 
very persons who refuse to meet him there. His unpro- 
fitable employments at home leave him no opportunitv to 
go in pursuit of his wandering sbeep. He meets tliem, it 
is true, at stated jieriods, in the common fold ; but it is 
equally true that, during every successive interval, he dis- 
covers the coldest indifierence with respect to their spi- 
ritual welfare. From this unbecoming conduct of manv a 
minister, one would naturally imagine, tbat the tloek 
wore rather called to seek <mt their indolent jiastor, than 
that he was purposely hired to pursue every straying 
sheep. 

10. The most powerful nerve of the sacred mlnistrv is 
ecclesiastical discipline : but this nerve is absolutely eut 
asunder by the method of wliich we now speak. AVlieii a 
pastor withdraws, fatigued, from liis studv, imagining that 
he has honourably aci^uitted himself, with regard to his 
people, he is too apt to neglect tliat vigilant insjiection 
into fimilies upon which the discipline of the church 
depends. Such a spiritual iirstructer may justly be com- 
pared to a vain-glorious pedagogue, who, after drawing 
up a copy, and adorning it fi)r several days together with 

VoL_ V. R 



386 



PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 



all the eijiLellisliments of his art, should yet imagine, that 
he had admirably performed his part, in preparing it, at 
length, for his scholars, without any visible defects. And 
what could reasonably be expected from the pupils of such 
a teacher, but that, fearing neither scholastic discipline, 
nor particular inspection, they should neglect to transcribe 
what their master, with so much unprofitable toil, had 
produced ? 

11. Since the orator's art has taken place of the energy 
of faith, what happy effect has it produced upon the 
minds of men ? Have we discovered more frequent con- 
versions among us ? Are formal professors more generally 
seized with a religious fear? Are libertines more uni- 
versally constrained to cry out, ''Men and brethren, what 
shall we do ? " Acts ii. 37- Do the wicked depart from 
the church to bewail their transgressions in private, and 
believers to visit the mourners in their affliction ? Is it 
not rather to be lamented, that we are at this day 
equally distant from Christian charity and primitive 
simplicity ? 

12. Reading over a variety of approved sermons is 
generally supposed to be preaching the gospel. If this 
were really so, we need but look out some school-boy of a 
tolerable capacity, and, after instructing him to read over, 
with proper emphasis and gesture, the sermons of Tillot- 
son, Sherlock, or Saurin, we shall have made him an 
excellent minister of the word of God. But if preaching 
the gospel is, to publish among sinners that repentance 
and salvation which we have experienced in ourselves ; if 
it is to imitate a penitent slave, who, freed from misery^ 
and iron, returns to the companions of his former slavery, 
declaring the generosity of their prince, and persuading 
them to sue for mercy ; if this is to publish the gospel of 
peace, then it is evident, that experience and sympathy 
are more (iiecessary to the due performance of this work 
than all the accuracy and elocution that can possibly be 
acquired. 

13. When this sacred experience, and this generous 
sympathy, began to lose their prevalence in the church, 
their place was gradually supplied by the trifling substi- 



PORTRxilT OF ST. PAUL. 387 

tutes of study and affectation. Carnal prudence has now 
for many ages solicitously endeavoured to adapt itself to 
the taste of the "wise and the learned. But while " the 
offence of the cross" is avoided, Gal. v. 11, neither the 
vrise nor the ignorant are effectually converted. The gos- 
pel is abundantly better suited to the poor in spirit, than 
to those who value themselves as men of sagacity and 
science. '' I thank thee, O Father," said the lowly Jesus, 
" that thou hast hid these things from the wise and the 
prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." Matt, 
xi. 25. These "babes," however, in the language of 
Christ, are the very persons who have been usually neg- 
lected by us, for the mere gratification of reputed sages. 
Alas ! how many thousand proofs do "sve require to con- 
vince us, that the wisdom of this world will continue to 
trample under foot the pearl of the gospel, though, in 
order to secure its reception, it should be presented among 
the artificial pearls of a vain philosophy ? 

14. In consequence of the same error, the ornaments 
of theatrical eloquence have been sought after with a 
shameful solicitude. And what has been the fruit of so 
much useless toil ? Preaehors, after all, have played their 
part with much less applause than comedians ; and their 
curious auditors are still running from the pulpit to the 
stage, for the pleasure of hearing fables repeated with a 
degree of sensil)ility which the messengers of truth can 
neither feel nor feign. 

Xot\\ ithstanding the above remarks liave been expressed 
in the most pointed manner, we mean not to insinuate, 
that the errors already exposed are the only mistakes to 
be truarded atjainst. l^xtrenies of every kind are to be 
avoided \vith ei[ual care. AVe eondenin the carnal j)ru- 
denee of Christian orators; but we as sincerely re[)r(»l)aU' 
the conduct of those enthusiasts \\ho, under |ire(( iie(> that 
Christ has proniis(,'d to continue with his disciples to th(^ 
end of the world, exhibit the reveries of a heated imagin- 
ation for the truths of tlu' g(jsj)el. Too many of these 
deluded fanatics are found, who, taking tlieir own slothful- 
ness and presumption for the effects of a lively f lith and an 
apostolic confidence, repeatedly affront the Almighty, and 

s 2 



388 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

josdy ofii^d those caadid hearers irlio are least disposed 
to take oflFence. " Offences will " undoubtedly " come ; " 
but it behoTes us to make a just distinction between the 
real " offence of the cross," and that which is given by an 
unlicensed presumption on our ovra part. 

If we are honoured with the pastoral office, let us con- 
sider the holy scriptures as an inexhaustible mine of 
sacred treasures. In the law of the Lord let us meditate 
day and night Before we attempt to deliyer erangelical 
truths in public, let it be our first care to penetrate our 
hearts in private with an adequate sense of those truths. 
Let us arrange them in the most suitable order ; let us 
adduce and compare the seyeral passages of sacred writ 
which appear to support or explain the particular doc- 
trines we mean to insist upon ; but, above all, joining 
£uth and prayer to calm meditation, after becoming mas- 
ters of our subject, let us humbly ask of Grod that 
7rappi^<ria., that lively and forcible elocution, which flows 
from the unction of grace. 

And here, instead of resting contented with barely 
requesting, we should labour to acquire, what we seek 
by frequently stirring up the gift that is in us. Let us 
embrace every opportunity of exhorting both believers and 
catechumens. Let us carry, with unwearied constancy, 
instruction to the ignorant, and consolation to the afflicted. 
Let us be faithful in reproving sinners of every class, and 
diligent in training up the children of our parish. 

It is necessary indeed to be scrupulously cautious, lest 
we abuse the liberty of preaching from meditation, by 
becoming followers of those who are more worthy of 
censure than imitation. There are pastors of this kind 
who, having acquired a good degree of spiritual know- 
ledge, and a wonderful facility of expression, unhappily 
begin to pique themselves upon appearing before a nume- 
rous assembly without any previous study. Conscious 
of their own ability, these self-sufficient preachers make 
little or no preparation for one of the most solemn duties 
that can possibly be discharged. They hasten to a crowded 
auditory without any apparent concern ; and, coming 
down from the pulpit with an air of the same easy con- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 38.0 

fidence with which they ascended it, contentedly return to 
that habitual listlessness which has only been interrupted 1)V 
tlie external performance of a necessary work. Alas ! if 
these presuming pastors could be prevailed upon to write 
over their sermons, to how much better purpose might they 
thus employ their hours, than by heedlessly trifling them 
away in frivolous conversation and shameful inactivity ! 

It is not to imitate examples of this nature that we 
solicit the ministers of Christ to recover those hours which 
are usually employed in composing their weekly dis- 
courses. How many are the important occupations of 
which the faithful pastor has his daily choice ! The 
wicked are to be reclaimed, and the righteous established. 
Hope must be administered to the fearful, and courage to 
the tempted. The weak are to be strengthened, and the 
strong to be exercised. The sick must be supported, and 
the dying prepared for dissolution. By frequent pastoral 
visits to hamlets, schools, and private houses, the indefati- 
gable minister should continually be moving through the 
several parts of his parish, discovering the condition of 
those entrusted t<i his care, and regularly supplying tbe 
necessities of his flock, diffusing all around instruction 
and rejirufif, exhortation and enmfbrt. To sum up his 
duties in a single sentence, he should cause the iigbt tliat 
is in him to shine out in every ]>ossihie direction before 
the ignorant and the learned, the rich and the poor; 
making the salvation of mankind his principal pursuit, 
and the glory (jf ( i(jd his ultinuite aim. 

Tiius, after having faithfully perfonneil the work of an 
evangelist, when he is about to I)e removed from his 
charg'' by death, or by any other providential appoint- 
ment, he may take an aflectionate leave of liis people, and 
say, '' Remember," my children, that, while I liave so- 
journed among you, "• I have not ceased to warn every 
one of you night * and day ;" and if my word has not 
always been accompanied " with tears, ^Vcts xx. .31, yet 
it has constantly flowe<l from sincerity and affeetion. 

• It in highly reasonable that pastorn should Rive cvenii^ij iii'^triic- 
tions to those who have been engaged, through tlic cours-e of the da}-, 
in their different callings. This season, whether it be in the nurtt 



390 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



CHAPTER XI. 

A REPLY TO THE FIFTH AND LAST OBJECTION WHICH 
MAY BE URGED AGAINST THE PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

Those persons wlio have already so earnestly resisted 
the truths for which we contend, will not fail to exclaim, 
in the last place, by way of an unanswerable argument, 
" What you require of pastors is unreasonable in the 
highest degree. If they are indeed called to labour for 
the salvation of souls with the zeal and assiduity of St. 
Paul, the holy ministry must be regarded as the most 
painful of all professions, and, of consequence, our pulpits 
"vvill be shortly imoccupied." 

M. Ostervald, who foresaw this objection, has com- 
pletely answered it in his third source of the corruption 
which reigns among Christians. " It will not fail to be 
objected," says this venerable author, " that if none were 
to be admitted to holy orders, except those who are pos- 
sessed of every necessary qualification, there could not 
possibly be procured a sufficient number of pastors for the 
supply of our churches. To which I answer, that it 
would be abundantly better to expose ourselves to this 
inconvenience, than to violate the express laws of the 
"written word. A small number of chosen pastors is pre- 
ferable to a multitude of unqualified teachers." One 
Elijah was more poAverftil than all the prophets of Baal. 
" At all hazards, we must adhere to the command of 
God, and leave the event to Providence. But, in reality, 
this dearth of pastors is not so generally to be appre- 
hended. To reject those candidates for holy orders 
whose labours in the church would be altogether fruit- 
less, is undoubtedly a work of piety ; and such alone 
would be repulsed by the apprehension of a severe 

dreary or the more pleasing part of the year, is pecuKarly suited to 
works of devotion. Such a custom might, at least, prevent many young 
persons from mixing vrith that kind of company, and frequenting those 
places, which would tend to alienate their minds from religion and 
virtue. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 391 

scrutiny and an exact discipline. Others, on the con- 
trary, who are in a condition to fulfil the duties of the 
sacred office, -would take encouragement from this exact- 
ness and severity, and the ministry would every day be 
rendered more respectable in the world." Behold an 
answer truly worthy an apostolical man ! 

If it still be objected, by the generality of pastors, that 
what we require is as unreasonable as it is unusual ; per- 
mit me to ask you, my lukewarm brethren, whether it be 
not necessary that you should use the same diligence in 
your sacred profession with which your neighbours are 
accustomed to labour in their worldly vocations and 
pursuits ? 

The fisherman prepares a variety of lines, hooks, and 
baits ; he knows the places, the seasons, and even the 
hours, that are most favourable to his employment ; nor 
will he refuse to throw his line several hundred times in a 
day. If he is disappointed in one place, he cheerfully 
betakes himself to another ; and if his ill success is of any 
long continuance, he will associate with those who are 
greater masters of his art. Tell me then, ye pastors, who 
make the business of a fisherman the amusement of many 
an idle hour, do ye really imagine that less ardour and 
perseverance are necessary to prepare souls for heaven 
than to catch trout for your tables ? 

The huntsman rejoices in expectation of the promised 
chase. He denies himself some hours of usual repose, 
that he may hasten abroad in pursuit of his game. lie 
seeks it with unwearied attention, and follows it from 
field to field Avith increasing ardour. Ife labours up the 
mountain ; he rushes down the precipice ; he penetrates 
the thickest woods, and overleaps tlie most threatening 
obstacles. lie practises the wildest gestures, and makes 
use of the most extravagant language ; endeavouring, by 
every possible means, to animate both dogs and men in 
the furious pursuit. lie counts the fatigues of the cliase 
in the number of its pleasures ; and through the whole 
insignificant business of the day, he acts with as raucli 
resolution and fervour as though he had undertaken one 
of the noblest enterprises in the world. 



392 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

The fowler with equal eagerness pursues his different 
game. From stubble to stubble, and from cover to cover, 
he urges his way. He pushes through the stubborn 
brake, and takes his way along the pathless dingle ; he 
traverses the gloomy mountain, or wanders devious over 
the barren heath ; and, after carrying arms all day, if a 
few trifling birds reward his toil, returns rejoicing 
home. 

Come, ye fishers of men ! who, notwithstanding your 
consecration to God, are frequently seen to partake of these 
contemptible diversions ; come and answer by your conduct 
to the following questions. Is the flock committed to 
your charge less estimable than the fowl which you so 
laboriously pursue ? Or are you less interested in the sal- 
vation of your people, than in the destruction of those 
unhappy quadrupeds, which give you so much silly fatigue, 
and afford you so much brutal pleasure ? 

Permit me, still further, to carry on my argument. 
AVas the panting animal, which usually accompanies your 
steps in the last-mentioned exercise, incautiously to plunge 
into a dangerous pit ; though faint with the labours of the 
day, and now on your return, would you carelessly leave 
him to perish ? Would you not, rather, use every effort 
to extricate him from apparent death ? Could you even 
sleep or eat, till you had afforded him every possible 
assistance ? And yet, you eat, you sleep, you visit ; nay, 
it may be, you dance, you hunt, you shoot, and that with- 
out the least inquietude, while your flocks are rushing 
on from sin to sin, and falling from precipice to precipice. 
Ah ! if a thousand souls are but comparable to the vilest 
animal, and if these are heedlessly straying through the 
ways of perdition, may we not reasonably exhort you to 
use every effort in preserving them from the most alarm- 
ing danger, and in securing them from the horrors of ever- 
lasting death ? 

But, passing by those amusements which so generally 
engage your attention, let me reason with you from one of 
the most laborious occupations of life. You are called to 
be " good soldiers of Jesus Christ." 2 Tim. ii. 3. And 
can you possibly imagine, that less resolution and patience 



PORTRAIT OF ST." PAUL. 393 

are required in a spiritual warrior, than in an earthly 
soldier ? Behold the mercenary, who, for little more than 
food and clothing, is preparing to go on his twentieth 
campaign ! "Whether he is called to melt under the line, 
or to freeze beneath the pole, he undertakes the ap- 
pointed expedition with an air of intrepidity and zeal. 
Loaded with the weapons of his wai-fare, he is harassed 
out with painful marches ; and after enduring the ex- 
cessive fatigues of the day, he makes his bed upon the 
rugged earth, or perhaps passes the comfortless night under 
arms. In the day of battle, he advances against the enemy 
amid a shower of bullets, and is anxious, in the most 
tremendous scenes, to give proofs of an unconquerable 
resolution. If, through the dangers of the day, he escapes 
unhurt, it is but to ran the hazard of another encounter ; 
perhaps, to force an entrenchment, or to press through a 
breach. Nothing, however, discourages him; but, covered 
with wounds, he goes on unrepining to meet the mortal 
blow. All this he suifers, and all this he performs, in the 
service of his superiors, and with little hope of advance- 
ment on his own part. 

Behold this dying veteran, ye timorous soldiers of an 
omnipotent prince ! and blush at your want of spiritual 
intrepidity. Are you not engaged in the cause of hu- 
manity, imd in the service of God ? Are you not com- 
missioned to rescue captive souls from all the powers of 
darkness? Do you not fight beneath his scrutinizing eve 
who is King of kings, and Lord of lords? Are you not 
contending within sight of eternal rewards, and with the 
hope of an unfading inheritance ? And will you comphiin 
of ditficulties, or tremble at dani^MT ? Will you not only 
avoid the heat of the engagement, but even dare to with- 
draw from tlie stantlard of your sovereign Lord? Let me 
k'ud you again into the field ; let me drag you back to the 
charge ; or, rather, let me sliame your cowardice, by 
pointing you to those resolute commanders who have fiir- 
merly signalized themselves under the banners of your 
I'rince. Emulate their example, and you shall share their 
rewards. 

But if, hitherto, you have neither contemplated the 
beautv, nor experienced the energv, of those truths by 



394 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

which. St. Paul was animated to such acts of heroism ; it is 
in vain that we exhort you to " shine " among the foremost 
ranks of Christians, "as" inextinguishable "lights, holding" 
up, against every enemy, as " a two-edged sword," Heb. iv. 
12, "the word of" everlasting "life." Philip, ii. 15, 16. 
Instead of this, it will be necessary to place before you 
the excellence and efl&cacy of this apostle's doctrines, to- 
gether with the infinite advantages which they procure to 
those who cordially embrace them. And this we shall 
endeavour to do in the second part of this work. Mean- 
while, we will conclude this first part with a short ex- 
hortation from St. Chrysostom's fifty-ninth sermon upon 
St. Matthew : " Since the present life is a continual war- 
fare ; since we are at all times surrounded by an host of 
enemies, let us vigorously oppose them, as our royal 
Chieftain is pleased to command. Let us fear neither 
labour, nor wounds, nor death. Let us all conspire 
mutually to assist and defend one another. And let 
our magnanimity be such as may add firmness to the most 
resolute, and give courage to the most cowardly." 



THE 



PORTRAIT OF ST PAUL. 
PART 11. 



THE DOCTRINES OF AN EVANGELICAL PASTOR. 

The minister of the present age, being destitute of 
Christian piety, is neither able to preach nor clearly to 
comprehend the truths of the gospel. In general, he con- 
tents himself with superficially declaring certain attributes 
of the supreme Being, while he is fearful of speaking too 
largely of grace or its operations, lest he should be sus- 
pected of enthusiasm. He declaims against some enor- 
mous vice, or displays the beauty of some social virtue, 
lie affects to establish the doctrines of heathen philoso- 
phers ; and it were to be wished that he always carried 
liis morality to as high a pitch as some of the most cele- 
brated of those sages. If he ever proclaims tlie Lord 
Jesus Christ, it is but in a cursory way, and chiefly when 
he is ol)liged to it, l)y the return of particular days. He 
himself continues the same through all seasons ; and tlie 
cross of Christ would be entirely hiid aside, unless the 
temporal prince, more orthodox than the minister, liad 
appointed the passion of our Lord to be the preacher s 
theme during certain solemnities of the church. 

With the evangelical pastor it is wholly otherwis(\ 
'' Jesus Christ," he is able to say with St. Paul, '' sent me 
to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the 
cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the 
preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness ; 
but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. Fur 



396 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

it is written, I will destroy the " Tain " wisdom of the 
wise, and will bring to nothing the " false " understanding 
of the prudent. Hath not God made foolish the wisdom 
of this world ? For after that the world by " this " wis- 
dom," this boasted philosophy, " knew not God," but 
rested in materialism and idolatry, " it pleased God by 
the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.*' 
1 Cor. i. 17 — 21. The preaching of the true minister, 
which commonly passes for folly in a degenerate world, is 
that through which God employs his power for the con- 
version of sinners and the edification of believers. It 
comprehends all that is revealed in the old and new testa- 
ment ; but the subjects on which it is chiefly employed 
are, the precepts of the decalogue, and the truths of the 
apostles' creed. They may be reduced to four points : 
1. True repentance toward God. 2. A lively faith in our 
Lord Jesus Christ. 3. The sweet hope which the Holy 
Spirit sheds abroad in the hearts of believers. 4. That 
Christian charity which is the abundant source of every 
good work. In a word, the good pastor preaches repentance, 
faith, hope, and charity. These four virtues include all 
others. These are the four pillars which support the glo- 
rious temple of which St. Paul and St. Peter make the 
following mention : " Ye are God's building." 1 Cor. 
iii. 9. " Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual 
house." 1 Peter ii. 5. 

By searching into the solidity of these four supports, we 
may observe how vast a difference there is between the 
materials of which they are composed, and that untem- 
pered mortar with which the ministers of the present day 
are striving to erect a showy building upon a sandy 
foundation. 

THE EVANGELICAL PASTOR PREACHES TRUE REPENTANCE 

TOWARD GOD. 

The true minister, convinced both by revelation and 
experience, that Jesus Christ alone is able to recover dis- 
eased souls, employs every effort to bring sinners into the 
presence of this heavenly Physician, that they may obtain 
of him spiritual health and salvation. He is fully per- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 397 

suaded that he who is not weary and heavy laden will 
never apply for relief; that he who is not poor in spirit 
will constantly despise the riches of the gospel ; and that 
they who are unacquainted with their danger will turn an 
inattentive ear to the loudest warninirs of gi-ace. 
His first care, then, is to press upon his hearers the 
necessity of an unfeigned repentance, that, by break- 
ing the reed of their vain confidence, he may constrain 
them, with the poor, the miserable, the blind, and the 
naked, to fall before the throne of divine justice ; whence, 
after seeing themselves condemned by the law of God, 
without any ability to deliver their o^vn souls, he is con- 
scious they will have recourse to the throne of grace, 
entreating, like the penitent publican, to be "justified 
freely by the grace of God, through the redemption that 
is in Christ Jesus." Rom. iii. 24. It is in this state of 
humiliation and compunction of heart that sinners are 
enabled to experience the happy effects of that evangeUcal 
repentance which is well defined in the fourteenth chapter 
of the Helvetic Confession: "By repentance," say our 
pious reformers, 'Mve mean that sorrow, or that displea- 
sure of soul, which is excited in a sinner, by the word and 
spirit of God," Sec. " By this new sensibility he is first 
made to discover his natural corruption, and his actual 
transgressions. His luart is pierct'd with sincere distress ; 
he deplores them before God ; he confesses them with 
confusion, but without reserve ; he abhors them with 
holy indignation ; he seriously resolves from the present 
moment to reform his conduct, and religiously apply him- 
self to the practice of every virtue during the remainder 
of his life. Such is true repentance : it consists, at once, 
in resolutely renouncing the devil, with every thing that 
is sinful ; and in sincerely cleaving to (Jod, with every 
thing that is truly good. liut we expressly say, this 
repentance is the mere gift of God, and can never be 
effected ])y our own power. 2 Tim. ii. 2")." 

It appears by this definition that our reformers distin- 
guished that by the name of "repentance," which many 
theologists have called the "awaking" of a soul from 
the sleep of carnal security, and which others have fre- 



398 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

quently termed " conversion." But if sinners understand 
and obtain da.e disposition here described, no true minister 
will be over anxious that they should express it in any 
particular form of words. 

HOW SIN AND THE NECESSITY OF REPENTANCE ENTERED 

INTO THE WORLD. 

Observe the account which the evangelical minister 
gives, after Moses and St. Paul, of the manner in which 
that dreadful infection made its way into the world, that 
corrupt nature, that "old man," that "body of death," which 
Christ, the seed of the woman, came to destroy : " When 
the " tempted " woman saw that the fruit of the tree," 
which God had forbidden her to touch, " was pleasant to the 
eyes, good for food, and to be desired to make one wise, she 
took thereof, and did eat ; and gave also unto her hus- 
band with her, and he did eat." Gen. iii. 6 ; 1 Tim. ii. 
14. Thus entered into the fountain-head of nature 
that moral evd, that complicated malady, that " lust of 
the flesh," that " lust of the eyes," and that " pride of life," 
1 John ii. 16, which the second Adam came to crucify 
in the flesh, and which is still daily crucified in the mem- 
bers of his mystical body. 

If Jesus Chiist never publicly discoursed concerning the 
entry of sin into the world, it was because his sermons 
were addressed to a people who had been long before 
instructed in a matter of so great importance. On this 
account, he simply proposed himself to Israel, as that 
promised Messiah, that Son of God and Sou of man, 
who was about to repair the error of the first Adam, by 
becoming the resm-rection and the life of all those who 
should believe in his name. 

St. Paul was very dijBferently circumstanced, when 
labouring among those nations which Avere unacquainted 
with the fall, except by uncertain and corrupt tradition. 
Behold the wisdom with which he unfolds to the heathen 
that fundamental doctrine which was not contested amonc; 
the Jews : " The first man Adam," the head of the human 
species, " Avas made a living soul ; " but Jesus Christ, 
*' the last Adam, was made a quickening spirit : " and he 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 399 

also is the head of the human species ; for " the head of 
every man is Christ." 1 Cor. xi. 3. " The first man is of 
the earth, earthy : the second man is the Lord from 
heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are 
earthy " (Avorldly) ; "• and as is the heavenly, such are 
they also that are heavenly " (regenerate). " And as we 
have borne the image of the earthy, we " whose souls are 
already regenerate '"shall also bear the" complete "image 
of the heavenly," when " this mortal shall have put on 
immortality;" for the " flesh and blood " which we have 
from the first Adam '* cannot inherit the kingdom of God." 
1 Cor. XV. 45 — 53. 

As human pride is continually exalting itself against 
this humiliating doctrine, so the true minister as constantly 
repeats it, crying out, in the language of this great apostle, 
"All" unregenerate men are " under sin ; there is none 
that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God ; 
they are all gone out of the way, they are together become 
unprofitable ; the way of peace have they not known ; 
there is no fear of God before tlicir eyes; we know that 
whatsoever things the law saith," the natural or the ]\Iosaic 
law, '• it saith to them that are under the law; that every 
mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become 
guilty before (Jod." Rom. iii. D — \\). "There is no dif- 
ference ; for" as "all have siiincd, and come short of the 
glory of (!m(1," so all equally need the merits and iissist- 
anoc of " Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a 
propitiation through faith in his blood." Rom. iii. 22 — 25. 
All those therefore who, neglecting Christ, rely upon 
"the works of the law, are under the curse;" and all 
their endeavours to deliver themselves by their imperfect 
obedience are totally vain : " for it is written, ( -ursed is 
every one tliat continueth not in all things which are 
written in the book of the law to do them." Thus, by 
denouncinji maledictions as dreadful as the thunders from 
mount Sinai against every act of disobedience, " the law " 
l)t'Coraes "our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that 
we might be justified by faitb.." Gal. iii. 10, 24. 



400 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



THIS DOCTRINE IS MAINTAINED BY ALL THE CHRISTIAN 

CHURCHES. 

When an evangelical minister insists upon the fall, the 
corruption, and the danger of unregenerate man, he 
acts in comformity to the acknowledged opinions of the 
purest churches. As I chiefly write for the French pro- 
testants, I shall here cite the confession of faith now in use 
among the French churches. " We believe," say they, in 
the articles ix., x., and xi. of their creed, " that man, 
having been created after the image of God, fell, by his 
own fault, from the grace he had received ; and thus be- 
came alienated from God, who is the fountain of holiness 
and felicity ; so that having his mind blinded, his heart 
depraved, and his whole nature corrupted, he lost all his 
innocence. We believe that the whole race of Adam is 
infected with this contagion, that in his person we for- 
feited every blessing, and sunk into a state of universal want 
and malediction. We believe also that sin," &c., " is a 
perverseness producing the fruits of malice and rebellion." 

The reformed churches of Switzerland make as humili- 
ating a confession. " Man," say they, " by an abuse of 
his liberty, suffering himself to ]be seduced by the serpent, 
forsook his primitive integrity. Thus he rendered him- 
self subject to sin, death, and every kind of misery; 
and such as the first man became by the fall, such are all 
his descendants. Rom. v. 12 — 21. When we say, man is 
subject to sin, we mean by sin, that corruption of nature 
which, from the fall of the first man, has been transmitted 
from father to son ; vicious passions, an aversion to that 
which is good, an inclination to that which is evil, 
a disposition to malice, a bold defiance and con- 
tempt of God. Behold the unhappy effects of that cor- 
ruption by which we are so wholly debilitated, that of 
ourselves we are not able to do, nor even to choose that 
which is good." Helvetic Confession, chap. viii. 

Every man may find in himself sufficient proofs of these 
painful truths. "God is the creator of man," say the 
fathers who composed the synod of Berne, " and he in- 
tended that man should be entirely devoted to bia God. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 401 

But this is no longer his nature ; since he looks to crea- 
tures, to his own pleasure, and makes an idol of himself." 
Acts of Synod, chap. viii. 

This doctrine is also set forth in the Augsburg con- 
fession ; as well as in articles ix. and x. of the church 
of England, where it is expressed in the following terms : — 
'' Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, but 
is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man, 
whereby he is very far gone from original righteousness, 
and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh 
lusteth alway contrary to the spirit; and therefore, in 
every person bom into this world, it deserveth God's 
wrath and damnation." " The condition of man, after the 
fall of Adam, is such, that he cannot turn and prepare 
himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to 
faith and calling upon God ; Avherefore we have no power 
to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without 
the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may 
have a good will, and working with us when we have that 
good will." 

Nothing less than a lively conviction of the corruption, 
weakness, and misery described in these confessions of 
faith, can properly dispose a man for evangelical repentance. 

WITHOUT EVA.N(;ELICAL KKl'KNTANCE, A LIVELY FAITH IN 

CHRIST, OR ri:(;i:ni;ratiun by the holy spirit, will 

AI'TKAR NOT ONLY UNNECIvSSAUY, I5UT AliSTUD. 

As tne knowlotlge of our di'pravity is the source from 
whence evangelical repentance and Christian humility 
flow, so it is the only iirccssary preparation for that living 
faith 1)V which we are both justified and sanctified. He 
who obstinately closes his eyes upon his own wa-etched- 
ness shuts himself up in circumstances which will not 
suffer hira to receive any advantaijje from that glorious 
Redeemer whom "God hath anointed to preach the gos- 
pel to the poor ;" to heal tlie '' broken-hearted ; to preach 
deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the 
blind ; to set at liberty them tliat are bruise<l ; to preach 
the acceptable year of the Lord." Luke iv. 18, 1!). Rea- 
son itself declares, that if sinful man is possessed of 



402 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

sufficient ability to secure his own salvation, he needs no 
other Saviour, and " Christ is dead in vain." Gal. ii. 21 . 
In short, so far as we are unacquainted with our degene- 
rate estate, so far the important doctrine of regeneration 
must necessarily appear superfluous and absurd. 

Here we may perceive one grand reason, why the 
ministers of the present day, who are but superficially 
acquainted with the depravity of the human heart, dis- 
course upon this mysterious subject in a slight and unsatis- 
factory manner. 

The true minister, on the contrary, following the example 
of his great Master, speaks upon this momentous change 
with affection and power. Observe the terms in which 
our Lord himself declares this neglected doctrine : — 
" Yerily, verily, I say unto you. Except a man be born of 
water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom 
of God." John iii. 5. As though he should say. The 
natural man, hoAv beautiful an appearance soever he may 
make, is possessed of an heart so desperately wicked, that 
unless it be broken by the repentance which John the 
baptist preached, and regenerated by the faith which I 
declare, he can never become a citizen of heaven ; for the 
doors of my kingdom must remain everlastingly barred 
against those " ravening wolves " who disguise themselves 
as sheep, Matt. vii. 15, and those painted hypocrites 
who salute me as their Lord, without embracing my doc- 
trines and observing my commands. " Yerily," therefore, 
" I say unto you," my first disciples and friends, " Except 
ye be converted, and become as little children," who are 
strangers to ambitious, envious, and impure thoughts, " ye 
shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matt, xviii. 3. 

Such is the doctrine that is still able to convert every 
inquiring Nicodemus. At first it may perplex and con- 
found them ; but, at length, submitting to the wisdom of 
their heavenly Teacher, they will be constrained to cry out, 
" Impart to us. Lord, this regenerating faith;" and when 
once they have obtained their request, they will adopt 
the prayer of the disciples, Luke xvii. 5, and proceed, 
like them, from faith to faith, till all things in their rege- 
nerate hearts are become new. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 403 

But if this doctrine is a sarour of life unto some, it is 
also a savour of death unto others. It gives offence to 
blinded bigots, while modern infidels strengthen them- 
selves against it, as Pharaoh once strengthened himself 
against the authority of Jehovah. " Thus saith the Lord," 
said 3Ioses to that obstinate monarch, " Let my people 
go, that they may serve me ;" Exodus viii. 1 ; and the 
haughty infidel replied, " Who is the Lord, that I should 
obey his voice ? I know not the Lord, neither will I let 
Israel go." Exodus v. 2. Come up out of mystic Egypt, 
saith the Son of God to every sinful soul : " Follow me in 
the regeneration," Matt. xix. 28, and I will teach you to 
'• worship God in spirit and in truth." John iv. 24. And 
who is the Son of God ? replies some petty Pharaoh : I 
know neither him nor his Father, nor conceive myself in 
anywise obliged to obey his commands. 

Impious as this language may appear, the conduct of 
every irreligious Christian must be considered as equiva- 
lent to it, according to those words of our Lord : " He 
that despiseth" my servants and my doctrines, '- despiseth 
me ; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent 
me." Luke x. 16. AVliatcver mask such a pharisaical 
profes>«or may wear, he loves the world ; therefore " the 
love of the Father is not in him;" 1 John ii. ]."• ; he 
hates both Christ and his Father, John xv. 21; his rcjicnt- 
ance is superficial, his faith is vain, and, sooner or later, 
his actions or his Avords will testify that he is lui utter 
enemy to Christ and his members. 

now THE FAITHFUL PASTOK LEADS SUXXEUS TO 
REPENTANCE. 

AViiAT was spoken by (iod to Jeremiah may, in some 
sort, be applied to the true minister : " I have set thee to 
root out and to plant, to pull down and to build." Jer. i. 
10. I'or before the sacred vine can be planted, the thorns 
of sin must be rooted up, together with the thistles of 
counterfeit rigliteousness ; and before the strong tower of 
salvation can be erected, that spiritual baljel must be over- 
thrown by which presumptuous men are still exalting 
themselves against heaven. 



404 PORTRAIT OF ST, PAUL. 

To lead^ sinners into a state of evangelical repentance, 
the true minister discovers to their view the corruption of 
the heart, with all the melancholy effects it produces in 
the character and conversation of unregenerate men. 
After he has denounced the anathemas of the law against 
particular vices, such as swearing, lying, evil-speaking, 
extortion, drunkenness, &c., he points out the magnitude 
of two general or primitive sins. The greatest offence, 
according to the law, he declares to be that by which its 
first and great command is violated ; consequently, those 
who love not God beyond all created beings, he charges 
with living in the habit of damnable sin, since they trans- 
gress that most sacred of all laws, which binds us to love 
the Deity with all our heart. Matt. xxii. 37, 38. Hence 
he goes on to convict those of violating a command like 
unto the first, who love not their neighbour as themselves; 
Matt. xxii. 39 ; and to these two sins, as to their deadly 
sources, he traces all the crimes which are forbidden in 
the law and in the prophets. Matt. xxii. 40. 

And now he proceeds to lay open before the eyes of 
professing Christians the two greatest sins which are 
committed under the gospel dispensation. If the two 
great commands of God under the new covenant are to 
this effect, that we believe on his Son Jesus Christ, and 
love one another ; 1 John iii. 23 ; it is evident that the 
two greatest sins under the gospel are, the want of that 
living faith which unites us to Christ, and that ardent 
charity which binds us to mankind in general, as well as 
to believers in particular, with the bands of cordial affec- 
tion. As darkness proceeds from the absence of the sun 
and moon, so from these two sins of omission flow all the 
various offences which are prohibited by the evangelical 
law. And if those who are immersed in these primitive 
sins are withheld from the actual commission of enormous 
offences, they are not on this account to be esteemed 
radically holy, since they are possessed of that very nature 
from which every crime is produced. Sooner or later, 
temptation and opportunity may cause some baneful 
shoots to spring forth in their outward conduct, in testi- 
mony that a root of bitterness lies deep within, and that 



PORTKAIT OF ST. PAUL. 405 

the least impious of men carry about them a degenerate 
nature, a body of sin and death. 

To give more weight to these observations, he sets forth 
the greatness of the supreme Being, enlarges on his justice, 
and displays the severity of his laws. He tramples under 
foot the the pharisaical holiness of sinners, that he may 
brinof into estimation the real virtues of the new man, 
which, after God, is created in righteousness and true 
holiness. To awaken those who are sleeping in a state 
of carnal security, he denounces the most alarming male- 
dictions, calling forth against them the thunders of mount 
Sinai, till they are constrained to turn their faces Zion- 
ward ; till they seek for safety in the Mediator of the 
new covenant, and hasten to " the sprinkling of that blood 
which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel." 
Hebrews xii. 24. 

By this method he conducts his wandering flock to the 
very point where ancient Israel stood, when God had 
prepared them to receive the laAv by his servant Moses. 
Now, after the people had heard the " thunderings," and 
" the noise of the trumpet ;" after they had seen " the 
lightnings, and the mountain smoking;" Exodus xx. 18; 
when, unable any longer to gaze on the dreadful scene, 
" they said unto ]\ loses, Speak thou with us, and we will 
hear; but let not God speak unto us," without a mediator, 
"lest we die;" Exodus xx. 19; then it was that Moses 
began to console them in the following words : " Fear 
not ; for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may 
be l)L'fore your faces, that ye sin not." Exodus xx. 20. 
So, in the present day, tluy only who are brought to this 
poverty of spirit are properly disposed to receive the 
riches of divine mercy. As soon, therefore, as the evan- 
gelical minister has sufficimitly alarmed a sinner with the 
terrors discovered upon mount Sinai, he anxiously pre- 
pares him for the consolations of the Gospel by a siglit of 
the suffering scone upon Calvary. 

IMany pious <livines have supposed that, by preaching 
the cross of Christ alone, mankind might be brought to 
true repentance. What the fathers of the synod of Berne 
have said upon this point deserves the attention of those 



406 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

who desire successfully to use that spiritual weapon, 
which is ^' sharper than any two-edged sword." Hebrews 
iy. 12. 

" The knowledge of sin," say they, " must of necessity 
be drawn from Jesus Christ. The apostle writes thus, 
' God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we 
were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' Rom. v. 8. It 
follows, that sin must have made us abominable and 
extremely hateful, since the Son of God could no other 
way deliver us from the burden of it, than by dying in 
our stead. Hence we may conceive what a depth of 
misery and corruption there is in the heart, since it was 
not able to be purified but by the sacrifice of so precious 
a victim, and by the sprinkling of the blood of God;' 
that is, of a man miraculously formed, in whom dwelt 
" all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Col. ii. 9. " The 
apostles have clearly manifested the sinfulness of our 
nature by the death of Christ ; whereas the Jews, after 
all their painful researches, were not convinced of sin by 
the law of Moses. After a solid knowledge of sin has 
been drawn from the passion of our Lord, there will 
naturally flow from this knowledge a true repentance , 
that is, a lively sorrow for sin mingled with the hope of 
future pardon. To this necessary work the Holy Spirit 
also powerfully contributes, bringing more and more to 
the light, by its mysterious operations, the hidden evils 
and unsuspected corruptions of the heart ; daily purifying 
it from the filtliiness of sin, as silver is purified by the 
fire." Acts of Synod, chap, viii., ix., xiv. 

HOAV THE PROPHETS, JESUS CHRIST, HIS FORERUNNER, AND 
HIS APOSTLES, PREPARED SINNERS FOR REPENTANCE. 

Ever faithful to the word of God, the minister of the 
gospel endeavours to humble the impenitent, by appealing 
to the sacred writers, and particularly to the declarations 
of Jesus Christ. 

The corruption of the heart is the most ancient and 
dreadful malady of the human race. Man had no sooner made 
trial of sin, but he was driven by it from an earthly para- 
dise ; Gen. iii. 24 ; and so terrible were its first effects 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 407 

that the second man was seen to assassinate the third. Gen. 
iv. 8. This moral contagion increased through every age 
to so astonishing a degree, that before the deluge " God 
saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, 
and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart 
was only evil continually." Gen. vi. 5. After the flood, 
God still declared the imagination of man's heart to be 
'•evil from his youth." Gen. viii. 21. "The heart of 
man," saith he again, long after that time, " is deceitful 
above all things, and desperately wicked : who can know 
it ? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins." Jer. 
x^ii. 9, 10. 

Our Lord himself, who perfectly " knew what was in 
man," John ii. 25, being the Physician who alone is able 
to heal us, and the Judge who will render to every one 
according to his works ; our Lord has described mankind 
alienated from the chief good, filled with aversion to his 
people, and enemies to God himself. " I send you forth," 
saith he to his disciples, " as lambs among wolves." Luke 
X. 3. " If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me 
before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world 
would love his own ; but because I have chosen you out 
of the ^vorld," that ye should walk in my steps, " therefore 
the world hateth you. If they have persecuted me, they 
will also persecute you." John xv. 18 — 20. " All these 
things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because," 
notwithstanding tlieir deism and polytheism, " they know 
not him that sent me ; " for " he that hatctli me, hateth 
my leather also." John xv. 21, 2l'). " These things have I 
told you, that " when they shall chase you from their 
churches, as demons Avould chase an angel of light, " ye 
may rcmemlK'r that I told you of them." John xvi. 4. 

The Jews were doubtless, in one sense, the most 
enlightened of all people ; seeing they offmcd to the true 
(Jod a public \vorsliip unmixed with idolatry ; were in 
possession of the law of JMoses, the psalms of David, to- 
gether with the writings of the other prophets, in which 
the duties required of man, Ix^th with respect to God and 
his neighbour, are traced out in the most accurate manner. 
Nevertheless, Jesus Christ represents this enlightened 



408 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

people as universally corrupted, in spite of all these advan- 
tages. " Did not Moses," saith he to them, " give you the 
law? and yet none of you keepeth the law." John 
vii. 19. 

What appears most extraordinary in the sermons of our 
Lord is the zeal with which he bore his testimony against 
the virtues of those Jews who were reputed men of 
uncommon devotion. Although they piqued themselves 
upon being eminently righteous, he declared to his disci- 
ples, that unless their " righteousness should exceed the 
righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, they should in 
no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matt. v. 20. 
And observe the manner in which he generally addressed 
those religious impostors : " "Woe unto you, scribes and 
pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye make clean the outside of the 
cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extor- 
tion and excess," — full of covetous desires and disorderly 
passions. " Thou blind pharisee, cleanse first that which 
is within, that the outside may be clean also." Matthew 
xxiii. 25, 26. 

Nothing is more common than that blindness which 
suffers a man to esteem himself better than he really is ; 
and this blindness is, in every period and in every place, the 
distinguishing characteristic of a pharisee. This species 
of hypocrisy, with which St. Paul himself was once elated, 
agrees perfectly well with the ordinary sincerity of nominal 
Christians, who blindly regard amusements the most tri- 
fling and expensive as allowable and innocent pleasures, 
who look upon theatres as schools of virtue, intrigue and 
deceit as prudence and fashion, pomp and profusion as 
generosity and decorum, avarice as frugality, pride as 
delicacy of sentiment, adultery as gallantry, and murder 
as an affair of honour. 

To all such modern Christians may we not with pro- 
priety repeat what our Lord once openly addressed to 
their predecessors ? — without doubt we are authorized to 
cry out against them with an holy zeal, " Woe unto you, 
hypocrites ! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which 
indeed appear beautiful outward, but are Avithin full of 
dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." Matt, xxiii. 27. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAVL. 409 

" Ye outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye 
are full of hypocrisy and iniquity ;" of hypocrisy, because 
your virtues have more of appearance than solidity ; and 
of injustice, because you render not that which is due to 
God, to Caesar, or to your fellow-creatures, A\hether 
it be adoration, fear, honour, support, or good will. Matt, 
xxiii. 28. 

But if the depravity of the Jews in general, and of the 
pharisees in particular, appears abundantly evident, must 
we suppose there were no happy exceptions among them ? 
It is true, the royal prophet declares, " The Lord looked 
down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if 
there were any that did understand and seek God. They 
are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy ; there 
is none that doeth good, no, not one." Psalm xiv. 2, 3. 
But were not the disciples of our Lord to be considered in 
a difierent point of view ? No : even after the extraordi- 
nary assistance afforded them by the Son of God, the 
apostles themselves did but confirm the sad assertion of 
the psalmist. Our Lord, upon whom no appearances could 
impose, once testified to James and John, that, notwith- 
standing their zeal for his person, they were unacquainted 
with his real character ; and that, instead of being influ- 
enced by his spirit, they were actuated by that of the 
destroyer. Luke ix. 55. " Ye then, being evil," said he 
to all his disciples. Matt. vii. IL "Have not I chosen 
you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" John vi. 70. 
••M)!!*' of you shall Intniy me." Peter, who is the most 
resolute to confess me, "shall deny me thrice." And "all 
ye shall be offended because of me." iNTatt. xxvi. 21, 
34,31. J^astly: our Lord constantly represented the 
unregenerate as persons diseased and eoiidemncd. "They 
that are whole," said he, " have no need of the physician, 
but they that are sick : I came not to call the righteous, 
but sinners to repentance." ]\Iark ii. 1 7. " Ye are of this 
world : therefore I said unto you, that ye shall die in your 
sins ; for if ye believe not that f am he," and refuse 
to observe the spiritual regimen I prescribe, " ye shall 
die in your sins." John viii. 23, 24. " Except ye repent, 
ye shall perish." Luke xiii. 5. 
Vol. v. T 



410 PORTRAIT OF ST*. PAUL. 

It is notorious, that John the baptist prepared the 
way of his adorable Master by preaching the same doc- 
trine. " O generation of vipers," said he to the pharisees 
and sadducees, — to the profane and professing part of the 
nation, — " who hath warned you to flee from the wrath 
to come ? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repent- 
ance." Matt. iii. 7, 8. 

It is equally well known, that the disciples were in- 
structed by Christ himself to tread in the steps of his 
forerunner. " It behoved," said he, " Christ to suffer, 
and that repentance should be preached in his name 
among all nations." Luke xxiv. 46, 47. Hence an apos- 
tle was heard to cry out, " God now commandeth all men 
every where to repent." Acts xvii. 30. And at other 
times the same divine teacher was inspired to write as 
follows : — " We, who are Jews by nature, and not sinners 
of the gentiles, were by nature the children of wrath, even as 
others;" Gal. ii. 15 ; Eph. ii. 3; "for we were sometimes 
foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and 
pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating 
one another." Titus iii. 3. 

The same doctrine was constantly held forth by the 
other apostles, as well as by St. Paul. In " time past," 
saith St. Peter, " we have wrought the will of the gen- 
tiles, walking in lasciviousness, lusts, revellings," &c. 
1 Peter iv. 3. " The whole world lieth in wickedness, ' 
saith the beloved John ; 1 John v. 19 ; and St. James 
solemnly testifies, that every " friend of the world is the 
enemy of God." James iv. 4. 

This humiliating doctrine, which the world universally 
abhors, is a light too valuable to be hidden under a bushel, 
and till it is raised, as it were, upon a candlestick of gold, 
we can never hope to see the visible church enlightened 
and reformed. 

OBSERVATIONS UPON THE REPENTANCE OP WORLDLY 

MEN. 

If it be inquired, Do not all ministers preach repent- 
ance ? we answer, that, ordinarily, true ministers alone 
preach true repentance. The preachers of the day, as they 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 411 

are conformable to the world In other things, so they are 
perfectly contented with practising the repentance of 
worldly men. Now, as he who receives only base coin 
cannot possibly circulate good money, so he who satisfies 
his heart with a short-lived sorrow for sin cannot 
possibly give free course to that evangelical repentance 
which the gospel requires. And it is observable, that the 
hearers of such ill- instructed scribes generally fix those 
bounds to their repentance which are satisfactory to their 
impenitent pastors. 

The repentance we here condemn may be known by the 
following marks : — 

1, It is superficial, and founded only upon the most 
vague ideas of our corruption : hence it cannot, like that 
of David and Jeremiah, trace sin to its source, and bewail 
the depravity of the whole heart. Psalm li. 5 ; Jeremiah 
xvii. 9. 

2. It is Pharisaical, regarding only outward sins. The 
righteousness of the pharisees rested upon the most 
trifling observances, while they neglected those weighty 
commands of the law which respect the love of God and 
our neighbour. Matt, xxiii. 23. They afflicted them- 
selves when they had not scrupulously paid the tenths of 
their herbs ; but they smote not upon their breasts when 
they had rejected the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. In 
the same dangerous circumstances are tliose penitents of 
the present day Avho are less sorrowful on account of 
having ofiended God and rejected Christ, than tliat they 
are become objects of ridicule, contempt, or punishment, 
by the commission of some impious or dishonourable 
action. We frequently hear these fiilse penitents bewail- 
ing the condition to which they have reduced themselves, 
and giving vent to the most passionate expressions of 
sorrow. But Avhen are they seen to afflict themselves, 
because tliey have not been wholly devoted to God ? 
Or when do they shed a single tear at the recollection, 
that they have not clierislied their neighbour as them- 
selves ? Are they ever heard to lament the want of that 
"faith' in Clirist "which Avorketh by love?" Gal. v. 6. 
Are they ever engaged in seeking after that communion 

T 2 



412 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

of saints by which believers become of one heart and one 
soul ? Alas ! so far are they from this, that they con- 
tinue equally tranquil under the maledictions of the 
gospel as under those of the law. They hear without 
terror those dreadful words of the apostle, " If any man 
love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema 
Maranatha ;" 1 Cor. xvi. 22 ; and though they neither 
love nor know him, yet they vainly look upon themselves 
as godly mourners and unfeigned penitents. 

3. This repentance is unfruitful, inasmuch as those 
who repent after this manner are utter strangers to com- 
punction of heart. None of these are constrained to cry 
out, " Men and brethren, what shall we do ?" Acts ii. 37. 
They come not to the Redeemer among such as " are 
weary and heavy laden." Matt. xi. 28. They have no 
experience of that godly sorrow by which the true pe- 
nitent dies to sin ; and so far are they from being born 
again of the Spirit, that they neither expect nor desire any 
such regeneration. In short, this repentance is rarely as 
sincere as that of Judas, who confessed his sin, justified 
the innocent, subdued his ruling passion, and returned the 
money he had so dearly obtained. 

Evangelical repentance is an incomprehensible work to 
the generality of ministers. Wherever it appears, they 
are prepared to censure it ; and are earnest in exhorting 
men to fly from it, rather than request it as a gift from 
God. Thus, when they behold any one truly mourning 
under a sense of sin ; smiting upon his breast with the 
publican ; stripping off, with St. Paul, the covering of his 
own righteousness ; and inquiring, with the convicted 
jailer, "What must I do to be saved?" Acts xvi. 30; 
they suppose these to be certain signs of a deep melan- 
choly ; they imagine the conversation of some enthusiast 
has driven the man to despair; aijd will not scruple to 
affirm, that he has lost the proper use of his reason. So 
true it is that "the natural man receiveth not the things 
of the Spirit of God," 1 Cor. ii. 14, nor is able even to 
form any just idea of that repentance which is the first duty 
imposed upon us by the gospel, and the first step toward 
that holiness without which no man shall see tl;e Jjord. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 413 

The moralists of the present time acknowledge that all 
men are sinners ; but they neglect to draw the just conse- 
quences from so sad a truth. To be found a sinner before 
an infinitely holy and just God is to forfeit at once both our 
felicity and existence. To appear as an impenitent offender 
in the eyes of our all-seeing Judge, is to lie in the con- 
dition of a broken vessel which the potter throws aside as 
refuse ; it is to stand in the circumstances of a criminal 
convicted of violating the most sacred laws of his prince. 
The two most important laws of God are those which 
require piety toward himself, and charity toward our 
neighbour. Now, if we have violated both the one and 
the other of these laws, and that times without number, 
it becomes us not only to confess our transgression, but to 
consider our danger. When a traitor is convicted of trea- 
son, or an assassin of murder, he immediately expects to 
hear his sentence pronounced ; and thus, when a sinner 
confesses himself to be such, he makes a tacit acknow- 
ledgment, that sentence of death might justly be pro- 
nounced upon him. 

Some persons are naturally so short-sighted, that they 
can only discover the most striking objects about them. 
Many in the moral world are in similar circumstances, to 
whom nothing appears as sin, except impieties of the 
grossest kind. If we judge of God's commands according 
to the prejudices of these men, idolatry is nothing less 
than the ;ut of prostrating ourselves before an idol ; and 
murder is merely the act by which a man destroys the life 
of his fellow-creature. But if these deluded persons could 
contemplate sin in a scriptural light ; if they could avail 
themselves ot" the law of God, as of an observatory erected 
for sacred meditation, their moral view would be suffi- 
ciently strengthened to discover the following truths : — 

1 . If we have not at all times placed a greater confi- 
dence in the Creator than in any of his creatures ; if we 
have either feared or loved any one more than our celes- 
tial Parent ; we have then really set up another God, in 
opposition to the Lord of heaven and earth. 

!2. If, neglecting to worship the Almighty in spirit and 
in truth, we have suffered ourselves to be seduced from 



414 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

his presence by any splendid vanity of the age, we have 
sinned in the same degree as though we had fallen down 
before a molten image. 

3. If, in our conversation, our reading, or our prayers, 
we have ever irreverently pronounced the name of God, 
we have then taken that sacred name in vain ; and God 
himself declares, that he will not hold such a one guilt- 
less. 

4. If we have refused to labour diligently, through the 
week, in the work of our particular calling ; or if we have 
ever made the sabbath a day of spiritual indolence and 
frivolous amusement ; then we have neglected and broken 
that law which we are peculiarly commanded to "re- 
member and keep." 

5. If we have been wanting at any time in obedience, 
respect, or love, to our parents, our pastors, our magis- 
trates, or to any of our superiors ; or if we have neglected 
any of those duties which our relations in society, or 
our particular vocation have imposed upon us ; we have 
merited that God should cut us o£F from the land of the 
living. 

6. If we have weakened our constitution by excess of 
any kind ; if we have struck our neighbour in a moment 
of passion ; if we have ever spoken an injurious word ; if 
we have ever cast a look directed by malice ; if we have 
ever formed in our hearts a single evil wish against any 
person whatever ; or if we have ever ceased to love our 
brother ; we have then, in the sight of God, committed a 
species of murder. 1 John iii. 15. 

7. If we have ever looked upon a woman with any 
other feelings than those of chastity ; Matt. v. 28 ; or if 
we have at any time cast a wishful glance upon the 
honours and pleasures of the world ; we have suffici- 
ently proved the impurity of our nature, and must be 
considered as living in " enmity with God." James iv. 4. 

8. If we have received the profit annexed to any post 
or employment, without carefully discharging the duties 
incumbent upon us in such situation ; or if we have taken 
advantage either of the ignorance or the necessity of 
others, in order to enrich ourselves at their expense • we 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 415 

may justly rank ourselves with those who openly violate 
the eighth command. 

9. If Ave have ever offended against truth in our ordi- 
nary conversation ; if we have neglected to fulfil our 
promises, or have ever broken our vows, whether made to 
God or man ; we have reason, in this respect, to plead 
guilty before the tribunal of immutable truth. 

10. If we have ever been dissatisfied with our lot in 
life ; if we have ever indulged restless desires, or have 
given way to envious and irregular wishes ; we have then 
assuredly admitted into our hearts that covetousness which 
is the root of every evil. 

"When St. Paul considered the law in this point of view, 
he cried out, "It is spiritual ; but I am carnal, sold under 
sin." Rom. vii. 14. And when Isaiah, passing from the 
letter to the spirit, discovered the vast extent of the deca- 
logue, he exclaimed, " Woe is me ! for I am a man of 
imclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of un- 
clean lips." Isaiah vi. 5. If our self-applauding moralists 
would be persuaded to weigh their piety in the same 
balance, they would find it as defective, at least, as that 
of Isaiah and St. Paul. 

Here, perhaps, some objecting pharisee may say, " If I 
have sinned in some degree, yet I have not committed such 
crimes as many others are guilty of; and I trust that God 
will not be severe in attending to trifling sins." But, 
1. These pretended trifling sins are ordinarily of so great 
a number, that the multitude of them becomes equivalent 
to the enormity of those crimes which are rarely com- 
mitted : so mountains and seas are but collections of 
grains of sand and drops of water. 

12. Every voluntary transgression argues a real contempt 
of the legislator's authority ; and in such contempt there 
is found the seed of every sin that can possibly be com- 
mitted in opposition to his express command. All the 
commands of God, whether they be great or small, have 
no other sanction than that which consists in his divine 
authority ; and this authority is trampled under foot 
by every petty delinquent, as well as by every daring 
transgressor. 



416 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

3. Those which we usually esteem trivial sins are the 
more dangerous on account of their being less attended to. 
They are committed without fear, without remorse, and 
generally without intermission. As there are more ships 
of war destroyed by worms than by the shot of the enemy, 
so the multitude of those who destroy themselves through 
ordinary sins exceeds the number of those who perish by 
enormous oifences. 

4. We have a thousand proofs that small sins will lead 
a man, by insensible degrees, to the commission of greater. 
Nothing is more common among us than the custom of 
swearing, and giving way to wrath without reason ; and 
these are usually regarded as offences of an inconsiderable 
nature. But there is every reason to believe that they 
who have contracted these vicious habits would be equally 
disposed to perjury and murder, were they assailed by any 
forcible temptation, and unrestrained with the dread of 
forfeiting their honour or their life. If we judge of a 
commodity by observing a small sample, so by little sins, 
as well as by trivial acts of virtue, we may form a judg- 
ment of the heart. Hence the widow's two mites ap- 
peared a considerable oblation in the eyes of Christ, who 
judged by them how rich an offering the same woman 
would have made, had she been possessed of the means. 
For the same reason, those frequent exclamations, in which 
the name of God is taken in vain, those poignant rail- 
leries, and those frivolous lies, which are produced in 
common conversation, discover the true disposition of 
those persons who, without insult or temptation, can 
violate the sacred laws of piety and love. The same 
seeds produce fruit more or less perfect, according to the 
sterility or luxuriance of the soil in which they are sown. 
Thus the very same principle of malevolence which leads 
a child to torment an insect acts more forcibly upon the 
heart of a slanderous woman, whose highest joy consists 
in mangling the reputation of a neighbour ; nor is the 
most detestable tyrant actuated by a different principle 
who finds a barbarous pleasure in persecuting the righ- 
teous, and shedding the blood of the innocent. 

If prejudice will not allow these observations to be just 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 417 

reason declares the contrary. The very same action that, 
in certain cases, would be esteemed a failing, becomes, in 
some circumstances, an oflfence, and in others, an enormous 
crime. For instance : if I despise an inferior, I commit a 
fault ; if the offended party is my equal, my fault rises in 
magnitude ; if he is my superior, it is greater still ; if he 
is a respectable magistrate, a beneficent prince, if that 
prince is my sovereign lord, whose lenity I have experi- 
enced after repeated acts of rebellion, who has heaped 
upon me many kindnesses, who means to bestow upon me 
still greater favours, and if, after all, I have been led to 
deny and oppose him, my crime is imdoubtedly aggravated 
by all these circimistances to an extraordinary degree. 
But, if this offended benefactor is Lord of lords and King 
of kings, the Creator of man, the Monarch of angels, 
the Ancient of days, before whom the majesty of all the 
monarchs upon earth disappears, as the lustre of a thousand 
stars is eclipsed by the presence of the sun ; if this glorious 
being has given his beloved Son to suffer infamy and death, 
in order to procure for me eternal life and celestial glory ; 
my crime must then be aggravated in proportion to my 
own meanness, the greatness of benefits received, and 
the dignity of my exalted Benefactor. But our imagi- 
nation is bewildered when we attempt to scan the enor- 
mity which these accumulated circumstances add to those 
acts of rebellion denominated sins. 

They who are not working out their " salvation with 
fear and trem])ling," Phil. ii. 12, must necessarily live in 
the jiractice of some constitutional sin; and this self- 
indulgence, however secret it may be, will not suffer 
them to perceive the demerit of their daily transgressions. 
An old debauchee, whose chief delight has been in 
seducing women, or an infamous murderer, who has shed 
human blood like water, may as easily conceive the horror 
that adultery and murder excite in virtuous souls. 

Before we can form a rational judgment of sin and the 
punishment it deserves, it becomes us to entertain just 
ideas of moral order ; to mark the obligation laid upon 
the supreme Legislator to maintain that order by 
■wholesome laws; and to discover, in some degree, the 

T 5 



418 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

sanctity, the excellence, and the extent of those abso- 
lute coiflmands. It is necessary to understand the de- 
pendence of the creature upon the Creator, since the 
image formed by the presence of an object before a mirror 
is not more dependent upon that object than all orders of 
created beings depend upon the Creator : if he withdraws 
his protecting hand, they are no more ; if he stretches out 
the arm of his vengeance, they are plunged, at once, into 
an abyss of misery. We must reflect upon all the various 
obligations under which we lie to the Almighty, as Creator, 
Preserver, Redeemer, and Comforter. We must consider 
those examples of his vengeful justice which he has 
placed before our eyes on piurpose to awaken our fears, 
together with the unmerited favours by which he has con- 
stantly sought to engage our grateful aflfection. It becomes 
us, likewise, to observe the vanity of all those appearances 
by which we are allured into sin ; and lastly, it is neces- 
sary to remember, that " God will bring every work into 
judgment, with every secret thing." Eccles. xii. 14. 
While we pay not a proper attention to every one of these 
circumstances, we must necessarily form an imperfect 
judgment, concerning the nature of sin, the severity with 
which God has determined to punish it, and the greatness 
of that expiatory sacrifice, by virtue of which his justice 
and his mercy unite in pardoning the penitent. 

When the law of God is wilfully transgressed, it is 
ridiculous in any man to attempt the justification of him- 
self by pleading, that he has committed no enormous 
crimes, or that, if ever he has been guilty of any such 
offences, his good actions have always been sufilcient to 
counterbalance their demerit. Frivolous excuses ! Is not 
one treasonable act sufiicient to mark the traitor ? Is not 
that soldier punished as a deserter who flies his colours but 
a single time ? And does not a woman forfeit her honour 
by one moment of weakness ? 

Though we grant, there are some sins of a peculiarly 
atrocious kind, yet as murder will always appear, before 
an earthly tribunal, according to its horrible nature, so 
sin will ever be considered as such before an infinitely 
holy God. If a man, accused of having wilfully poisoned 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 419 

a fellow-creature, should address his judge in terms like 
these : — " The charge brought against me is just : but let 
it be considered, that the person T have destroyed was 
only an infant ; that he was the child of a common beg- 
gar ; and that this is the only murder I have committed 
through the whole of my life. On the other hand, I 
have been a constant benefactor to the poor : and surely 
a thousand acts of charity will abundantly outweigh one 
little dose of arsenic." " Xo," the judge would answer; 
"when you prolonged the life of the indigent by your 
alms, you merely performed a duty which is universally 
required of every worthy citizen ; and the law allows you 
nothing on this account. But if you have given the 
smallest dose of poison to any human creature with an 
intent to destroy his life, the law pronounces you a mur- 
derer, and will punish you as such." 

After our first parents had offended by eating the for- 
bidden fruit, they had but vainly excused themselves in 
saying, " We have gathered only that which appeared to 
be of little worth ; we have tasted it but once ; moreover, 
our labour in the garden is of much greater value than the 
fruit we have taken. Lord, condemn us not to death for 
so inconsiderable an otfence." ^Such, however, are the 
frivolous excuses with which every blinded moralist con- 
tents his seared conscience, and with which he hopes to 
satisfy his omniscient Judge. When St. Paul was one of 
this class, he practised upon himself the same delusions. 
C'a}»al)Ie only ot natural sentiments, tlie bidden truths of a 
spiritual law were not only incomj)rehensihle, but vain 
and foolish things, in his estimation. This we learn from 
the following passage in his epistle to the liomans : — " [ 
was alive -without the law once," ])aying little attention to 
the spirituality of its precepts, or the severity of its threat- 
enings, and indulging no suspicion either of my corrup- 
tion, or my condemnation. ''But when the conmiand- 
ment came" in its sj)iritual energy, "sin re\ivc(l,' assum- 
ing an appearance suited to its infernal nature, ''and,"' 
receiving a sentence of death in mys(df, " I died. I had 
not " then " known sin, but by the law; ior 1 had not 
known lust," which is the source of every evil, and the 



420 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

first cause of our condemnation, " except the law had said, 
Thou shalt not covet." Rom. vii. 9, 7* 

Every syicere Christian, in imitation of this apostle, 
may with propriety say, " There are various sins which I 
had never seen as such, hut by the light of the gospel. 
For example : I had lived in security, with respect to 
abusing the faculty of speech, and had never known the 
Almighty's intention of judging me upon that article, if 
Christ himself had not made the following solemn decla- 
ration, ' Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall 
give account thereof in the day of judgment ; for by thy 
words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt 
be condemned.' " Matt. xii. 36, 37. If those who trust in 
their own righteousness would seriously examine them- 
selves by the twofold law of Moses and of Christ, they 
would form a new judgment of their spiritual circum- 
stances, and pass, with St. Paul, from the state of the 
pharisee into that of the publican. 

Further : sins of omission, as well as those of commis - 
sion, are sufficient to draw upon us the maledictions of the 
law, which equally commands us to do good and to 
abstain from evil. Offences of this nature are seldom 
regarded as sins by the generality of mankind ; and hence 
they are wholly unalarmed at the recollection of them. 
To lack diligence in our duties, moderation in our joys, 
attention in our prayers, and zeal in our devotions; to 
live without gratitude toward our divine Benefactor, with- 
out resignation under losses, without patience in affliction, 
without confidence in God during times of danger, and 
without contentment in the state to which he has called us ; 
to want humility toward our superiors, courtesy toward our 
equals, affability toward our inferiors, meekness toward 
those who displease us, faithfulness to our word, strict truth 
in our conversation, or charity in the judgment we form of 
others ; all these are things which never disturb the repose 
of a worldly man ; nor does he esteem them as real offences 
in the sight of God. He considers not, that an inattentive 
nurse may as effectually destroy a child, by withholding from 
it proper nourishment, as by obliging it to sip a poisonous 
draught ; that a soldier would be condemned to death, if 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 421 

the enemy should surprise a town while he was sleeping 
on his post, equally as though he had been busy in opening 
the gates for their admission ; and that Christ represents 
the want of an holy fervour as the grand reason why luke- 
warm Christians excite in him the utmost detestation and 
abhorrence. Rev. iii. 16. An entire chapter in the gospel 
is employed to teach us, that sins of omission will consti- 
tute the principal cause of a sinner's condemnation at the 
last day. The slothful servant is cast into outer darkness, 
not for having robbed another of his talent, but for the 
non-improvement of his own ; the foolish virgins are 
excluded from the marriage feast, not for having betrayed 
the bridegroom, but because they were unprepared to 
receive him ; and every Christian is acquainted with that 
terrible sentence which shall one day be pronounced upon 
the wicked : " Depart from me, ye cursed ; for I was an 
hungered, and ye gave me no meat," &c. ]Matt. xxv. To 
have that " religion which is pure and un defiled before 
God," it is not only necessary that Ave " keep ourselves 
unspotted from the world," but we must also " visit the 
fatherless and widows in their affliction," James i. 27, 
relieving the unfortunate to the utmost of our ability, and 
exerting our whole power in spreading truth and happi- 
ness amonjTf all around us. 

Tlius hunted, at kngtli, from many a dangerous shelter, 
imhuiubled sinners will still presume to adopt the follow- 
ing plea : — '* AVe pray, we fast, we give alms, we receive 
the holy sacrament, and wluit more do you require ? " 
Such was the foundation of the ancient pbarisees' hope; 
but Christ and his apostles oveitiirew their vain con- 
fidence ])y the same arguments which evangelical ministers 
are still obliged to turn against multitudes of religious pro- 
fessors who indulge an exalted opinion of their own con- 
temptible merits. 

"•The gospel requires," say these faithful pastors, " that 
to the external marks of religion, you should l)e careful 
to add humility and charity ; and if these two capital 
graces are wanting, your religion is but a body without a 
soul. 2 Tim. iii. 5. You have received the holy sacra- 
ments of our church ; but what salutary efiects have they 



422 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

produced in your life and conTcrsation ? The circumci- 
sion which saved the Jews was not the circumcision of 
the flesh, but that of the heart • Rom. ii. 29 ; and the bap- 
tism which saves Christians is not that by which the body 
is sprinkled with water, but that which purifies the soul. 
1 Peter iii. 21. So the passover which was acceptable to 
God on the part of the Jews consisted, not simply in 
eating the paschal lamb, but in penetrating their souls 
with gratitude, on recollecting the many wonderful deli- 
verances which the Almighty had wrought for his people 
And the communion which is acceptable on the part of 
Christians consists, not merely in receiving the consecrated 
elements, as various classes of sinners are accustomed to 
do, but in uniting themselves to the Lord by a living 
faith, and to all his members by an ardent charity. You 
pray : and did not the pharisees so ? Yea, they were 
remarkable for their long and zealous prayers ; but, alas ! 
while they acknowledged God 'with their lips, their hearts 
were far from him.' Isaiah xxix. 13. You give alms: 
but if you mean with these to purchase heaven, you do 
but deceive your own souls, while your pretended charity 
degenerates into insolence ; or if you merely seek to pro- 
cure the reputation of being charitably disposed, you have 
your reward. You fast : but if you do this chiefly through 
custom, or through respect to the orders of your prince, 
your fast can no more be counted religious, than the 
regimen prescribed you by a physician ; and if these fasts 
have not produced in you a sincere repentance and a true 
conversion, however you may regard them as acts of devo- 
tion, they are in reality no other than acts of hypocrisy. 
Moreover, the pharisees fasted twice in the week, while 
you, it may be, are among the number of those who ima- 
gine they have made a valuable sacrifice to God by 
abstaining from a single repast in a year." 

As Pharisaical moralists "have sought out" so "many 
inventions," Eccles. vii. 29, to evade the necessity of an 
unfeigned repentance; and as philosophizing Christians 
rise up with one consent against this doctrine of the gos- 
pel ; we shall conclude this subject by disclosing the sources 
of their common error. 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 423 

1. There are phantoms of virtue, or virtues purely 
natural, which pass in the world for divine. But who 
ever imagined the dove to be really virtuous, because she 
is not seen, like the eagle, to make a stoop at birds of a 
Avcaker frame than herself? Or who supposes wasps to 
be generous insects, because they are observed mutually to 
defend themselves when their nest is attacked ? Is not 
the conjugal and maternal tenderness of the human spe- 
cies apparent, in an eminent degree, among various tribes 
of the feathered kind ? And do we not see among bees 
and ants that ardent patriotism which was so highly 
extolled among the Romans ? Does not the spider exhi- 
bit as manifest proofs of ingenuity and vigilance as the 
most industrious artist ? And do not carnivorous animals 
discover all that fearless intrepidity which is so universally 
boasted by vain-glorious heroes ? Let us not mistake 
in a matter of so mucb importance. As nothing but cha- 
rity can give to our alms the value of good works, so 
nothing less than the fear of God, and a sincere intention 
of pleasing him, can give to our most valuable propensi- 
ties the stamp of solid virtues. If we could completely 
expose the worthless alloy which worldly men are accus- 
tomed to pass off as sterling virtue, many of those who 
now esteem themselves rich in good works would be con- 
strained to " abhor themselves, and repent in dust and 
ashes." Job xlii. 6, 

2. Many persons indulge too favourable ideas of the 
human heart, through their ignorance of that unsullied 
purity which (Jod requires of his intelligent creatures. 
They judge of themselves and others as a peasant jud'-^cs 
of a theme replete with solecisms, who, far from express- 
ing tlio discernment of a critic, admires the vast erudition 
of the young composer. Thus some external acts of 
devotion are applauded by undiscerning Christians as 
commendable works, which, in the sight of God, and 
l)efore holy spirits, appear altogether polluted and worthy 
of punishment. 

'A. If we are sometimes deceived by our own ignorance, 
we more frequently impose upon others by our innate 
hypocris}'. Unregenerate men, after having thrown a 



424 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

cloak over their distinguishing vices, are anxious to make 
a parade of virtues which they do not possess. The proud 
man is so»ietimes observed putting on the garb of humi- 
lity, and, with the most lowly obeisance, professing him- 
self the very humble servant of an approaching stranger. 
Immodesty is frequently masked with an affected air of 
chastity and bashfulness ; hatred, envy, and duplicity veil 
themselves under the appearances of good-nature, friend- 
ship, and simplicity ; and this universal hypocrisy contri- 
butes to render its practitioners less outwardly offensive 
than they would otherwise be, as an unhandsome woman 
appears less defective to a distant beholder, after having 
nicely varnished over the blemishes of her face. 

4. It frequently happens that one vice puts a period to 
the progress of another. Thus vanity, at times, obliges 
us to act contrary to the maxims of avarice, avarice con- 
trary to those of indolence, and indolence contrary to those 
of ambition. A refined pride is generally sufficient to over- 
come contemptible vices, and may influence its possessor 
to the performance of many exterior virtues. Hence the 
impious and sordid pharisee went regularly to the temple ; 
he prayed, he fasted, he gave alms, and, by all these 
appearances of piety and benevolence, acquired the com- 
mendation of the world. Society makes a kind of gain by 
these acts of dissimulation, Avhich are as the homage paid 
to virtue by vice, and by impiety to devotion. But, 
notwithstanding every plausible appearance that can pos- 
sibly be put on, when the minister of the gospel declares 
the fall of man, together with the absolute need of regene- 
ration, he is supported, at once, by revelation, reason, and 
experience. 

5. If the moral disorder with which human nature is in- 
fected appears not always at its utmost height, it is because 
regeneration, having commenced in many persons of every 
rank, the wicked are overawed by the influence of their ex- 
ample. Add to this, that God restrains them, as with a bridle, 
by his providence, and by those motions of conscience which 
they vainly endeavour to stifle. It is notorious, that the fear 
of public contempt and punishment is sometimes sufficient 
to arrest the most abandoned in their vicious career, since 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 425 

tlicy cannot discover what they really are, "without arming 
a"-ainst themselves the secular power. Thus the terror 
Avhich prisons and gibbets inspire constrains ravening 
wolves to appear at particular seasons in the garb of 
inoffensive sheep. But is it possible that innocence so 
constrained should be accounted of any value, even among 
heathens themselves? It is impossible, since we find one 
of their own poets declaring, — 

Oderunt peccare niali, formidine pounce. 

'• The wicked abstain from mischief through fear of 
punishment." And all the recompence he conceives due to 
such guiltless persons consists in not becoming the food of 
ravens upon a gibbet : — 

Nun pasces in cruce corvos. 

6. If servile fear is sometimes the cause of our inno- 
cence, necessity is more commonly the cause of our appa- 
rent virtues. A youth of any modesty is generally cau- 
tious among his superiors, who afford him neither money 
to indulge, nor liberty to discover, his inclinations. Now, 
if this forced discretion should, at length, become habitual 
to him, he may, in such circumstances, esteem himself a 
virtuous man, because he has not, like the son of a disso- 
lute courtier, plunged himself into every kind of impiety; 
whereas had he enjoyed but equal liberty with the licen- 
tious rake, he might have surpassed him in every sinful 
excess. On the other hand, when an infamous volup- 
tuary, enfeebled either by age or by his frequent debauch- 
eries, finds it absolutely needful to live in more sober and 
orderly style, immediately he takes himself for another 
Cato, not considering, that necessity alone is the source of 
his tem])erance. The least excess disorders his health, 
and the weakness of his stomach obliges him to abstain 
from those luxurious feasts which he can still converse of 
with so much satisfaction. If such a one is virtuous, 
])ecause no longer al)le to rush into his former excesses, 
then we may prove the most incorrigible robber to be an 
honest man while the irons are on his hands, or when, 
scared by the officers of justice, he flies to some secret 



426 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

retreat. Has that woman any reason to boast of her 
virtuous conduct who was never solicited by those men 
who were most likely to have triumphed over her mo- 
desty ? And yet many such, filled with self-approbation, 
will frequently applaud their own innocence, placing that 
to the account of virtue which was merely owing to pro- 
vidential circumstances, or, perhaps, to the want of per- 
sonal attraction. Such plausible appearances no more 
merit the commendation due to solid virtue, than the 
sickly wolf, that peaceably passes by a flock of sheep, can 
be said to deserve the caresses which a shepherd bestows 
upon his faithful dog. 

7. Efi'ectually to impose upon others by a beautiful out- 
side, we practise a deeper deceit upon our own hearts ; 
and very frequently we succeed as well in hiding from 
ourselves our own evil dispositions, as in concealing from 
others our unworthy actions. Could we discover all that 
secretly passes in the world, we should not want demon- 
strative proofs of the depravity of the human heart. But 
why need we go abroad in search of a truth which is 
easily evidenced at home ? Had we ourselves but dared 
to have executed openly what we have acted in imagina- 
tion, when our irascible or concupiscible passions have 
been roused, wher^ should we have hidden our guilty 
heads, or how should we have escaped the sword of jus- 
tice ? Convinced too late of our degenerate nature, we 
should haply have smitten upon our breasts with the 
repentant publican, adopting long ago his humiliating 
confession in the anguish of our souls. Every thinking 
person must allow, that had evil intentions fallen under 
the cognizance of human laws, and had the secular power 
possessed equal ability to punish them as it punishes those 
actions of which they are the very root and soul, the 
whole earth must, in such case, have become as vast a scaf- 
fold as it is now a place of graves. Can it be necessary to 
multiply observations upon this head, when the Almighty, 
whose mercy and justice are infinite, sufiiciently declares 
the Tiniversal depravity of mankind by the variety of 
scourges with which he is constrained to punish both 
individuals and commonwealths ? 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 427 

8. If the children of this world are unable to form any 
just conception of the human heart and its evil propensi- 
ties, it is because they are in the number of those natural 
men of whom the apostle Paul makes mention. 1 Cor. ii. 
14. And such, having a natural antipathy to the gos- 
pel, >yhile they are ever ready to cast reproach upon the 
faithful, are equally prepared to favour those of a like 
disposition with themselves. Thus Herod, Caiaphas, and 
Pilate mutually overlooked the faults of each other, while 
they united in accusing and persecuting Christ. 

It is usual with many Avho are destitute of true religion 
to esteem some among their sinful companions as moral 
and well disposed men; but were they themselves to be 
converted, their error in this respect would soon become 
apparent. Upon daring to oppose any torrent of impiety 
with the zeal of their heavenly Master, instead of finding 
among their associates any natural disposition to real 
virtue, they would meet with indisputable proofs, in spite 
of a thousand amiable qualities, that all unregenerate men 
resemble one another in their " enmity against God." 
Rom. viii. 7- Yes, whether they inhabit the banks of the 
Thames or the Seine, the lake of Gennesaret or that of 
Geneva ; they are in the sight of God as filthy swine 
trampling under foot the pearls of the gospel. Matt. vii. 6; 
or like ^ ravening wolves," Matt. vii. 15, outrageously 
tearing in pieces the Lamb of God. 

It might perhaps have been objected, that this portrait 
is overcharged, had not Christ himself, who is immutable 
truth and unsearchable love, pencilled the gloomiest 
traits observable in it. Following such a guide, though 
we may give much offence, yet we can never err. 

THE SECOND IMPORTANT DOCTRINE INSISTED UPON BY THE 
TRUE MINISTER IS A LIVING FAITH. 

To show the necessity of repentance without publishing 
the remission of sins through faith in Jesus Clirist would 
be to open a wound without binding it up. It would be 
leading sinners to the brink of a tremendous gulf, and 
cutting oft' all possibility of their retreat. But nothing 
can be more contrary to the intention of the faithful 



428 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

minister, tlian to sport with the miseries of man, or ulti- 
mately to aggravate his distress. 

Wheiv he has discorered to his hearers that natural 
propensity to evil which manifests its existence in every 
heart by a variety of external transgressions ; when he has 
convinced them by the word of God, and by an appeal 
to every man's conscience, 2 Cor. iv. 2, that they are 
unable to deliver themselves either from that fatal pro- 
pensity or its dreadful consequences ; after he has thus 
demonstrated the need in which they stand of a 
Redeemer, who hath " all power in heaven and in earth," 
Matt, xxviii. 18; if they "harden not their hearts," 
Psalm xcv. 8 ; if they stand like the first sinner, naked 
and trembling before God, Gen. iii. 10 ; having received 
"the sentence of death in" themselves, 2 Cor. i. 9 ; in 
a word, when they cry out like the publicans and soldiers 
alarmed by the preaching of John, " What shall we do ? " 
Luke iii. 12 ; they are then properly disposed to receive 
" the glorious gospel of Christ," 2 Cor. iv. 4, and will 
be enabled to experience its powerful effects. From this 
time the evangelical pastor aifectionately preaches re- 
mission of sins through faith in the name of a merciful 
Redeemer. 

This is the very same method which Christ and his 
forerunner pursued. "Behold the Lamb of God, which- 
taketh away the sins of the world," was the cry of John 
the baptist. John i. 29. And, " Blessed," said our Lord, 
" are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of 
heaven." Matt. v. 3. " God so loved the world, that 
he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth 
in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 
John iii. 16. " He that believeth on the Son hath ever- 
lasting life ; and he that believeth not the Son shall 
not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 
iii. 36. " Whosoever shall drink of the water that I 
shall give him shall never thirst ; but it shall be in 
him a well of water," a source of sacred consolation, 
" springing up into everlasting life." John iv. 14. Again : 
when it was inquired by the multitude, " What shall we 
do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus said 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 429 

unto tliem, This is the work of God, that ye believe on 
him whom he hath sent. And this is the will of him 
that sent me, that every one Avhich seeth the Son, and. 
believeth on him, may have everlasting life : and I will 
raise him up at the last day." John vi. 28, 29, 40. Thus 
it was that our adorable Master proclaimed salvation 
through faith in himself; and indeed it was for this end 
alone that he appeared upon earth, as we learn from the 
last address he made to his disciples : " It behoved," said 
he, " Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third 
day, that remission of sins should be preached in his name 
among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem," the abode of 
his murderers. Luke xxiv. 46, 47- 

Observe the great commission given to those mes- 
sengers of peace : " Go ye into all the world, and preach 
the gospel to every creature ; he that believeth and is 
baptized shall be saved, but be that believeth not shall 
be damned." Mark xvi. 15, 16. To the same purpose 
was the commission with which the apostle Paul Avas 
afterwards honoured. " I have appeared unto thee," 
said the persecuted Jesus, " for this purpose, to make 
thee a minister and a witness to the gentiles, unto whom 
I now send thee, to open their eyes, to turn them from 
dai-kness to light, and from the power of satan unto God, 
that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance 
among them that are sanctified by faitli that is in me." 
Acts xxvi. 16— IfJ. 

The ai»cist!es unanimously preached in obedience to the 
orders, and in conformity to the example, of their bene- 
volent Lord. And all true ministers, instructed by the 
same divine Teacher, continue to proclaim the glad 
tidings of the gospel through faith in Jesus Christ ; lay- 
ing as much stress in all their sermons upon this effica- 
cious grace, as the apostle of the gentiles was accus- 
tomed to do in all his epistles. Take a few instances 
of *St. Paul's usual method in this resixct :— after having 
convinced the Romans of their corruption and misery, 
he sets before them " the redemption tliat is in Christ 
Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation 
througli faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness 



430 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

for the remission of sins that are past, that he might be 
just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." 
Rom. iii, 24—26. " Therefore," continues he, " being 
justified by faith, we have peace with God through our 
Lord Jesus Christ." Rom. v. 1. To the Corinthians 
he writes: " Brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which 

1 preached unto you, which also ye have received, and 
wherein ye stand, by which also ye are saved, unless ye 
have believed in vain." 1 Cor. xv. 1, 2. For " ye are 
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus." 1 Cor. vi. 11. 
" God hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and 
hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation ; to 
wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto 
himself, not imputing their trepasses unto them : for he 
hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin ; that 
we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 

2 Cor. V. 18, 19, 21. To the Galatians : " Knowing that a 
man is not justified by the w^orks of the law, but by the 
faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus 
Christ, that we might be justified by faith, and not by 
the works of the law." Gal. ii. 16. Before " faith came, 
we were kept under the law. Wherefore the law was our 
schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ ; but after that faith 
is come, we are no more under a schoolmaster. For ye 
are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." Gal. 
iii. 23—26. To the Ephesians : " Blessed be the God 
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath made us 
accepted in the Beloved ; in whom we have redemption 
through his blood, the forgiveness of sins." Eph. i. 3, 6, 7- 
" By grace are ye saved, through faith ; and that not of 
yourselves ; it is the gift of God : not of works, lest any 
man, should boast." Eph. ii. 8, 9. " Finally, my brethren, 
put on the whole armour of God ; above all, taking the 
shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all 
the fiery darts of the wicked." Eph. vi. 10, 11, 16. To 
the Philippians : " Stand fast in one spirit, with one 
mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel." Philip. 
i. 27. " We rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confi- 
dence in the flesh. Yea, I count all things but loss that 
I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine 



PORTRAIT OF ST. TAUL. 431 

own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is 
through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of 
God by faith." PhiHp. iii. 3, 8, 9. To the Colossians : 
'' It pleased the Father that in him " (the Son) " should 
all fulness dwell ; and, having made peace through the 
blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto him- 
self. And you, that were sometimes alienated and ene- 
mies in your mind by wicked works, hath he reconciled 
in the body of his flesh through death, to present you 
holy and unblameable in his sight, if ye continue grounded 
and settled in the faith." Col. i.l9 — 23. " As ye have there- 
fore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him, rooted 
and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye 
have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." 
Col. ii. 6, 7- To the Thessalonians : " Let us, who are of 
the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith ; for 
God hath not appointed us unto wrath, but to obtain sal- 
vation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, 
Avhether we wake or sleep, we should live together with 
him." 1 Thess. v. 8 — 10. '"We are bound to thank God 
always for you, brethren, because that your faith groweth 
exceedingly." Now, " the Lord shall come to be glorified 
in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. 
Wherefore we i)ray that our God would fulfil " in you 
"the work of faith with power, that the name of our 
Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in 
him." 2 Thess. i. 3, 10 — 12. 'J'o Timothy : "• Tliis is a faith- 
ful saying, and wortliyof all aeeeptatioii, that Christ Jesus 
came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am 
chief. Ilowbeit, for this cause I obtained mcrcv, that in 
me first Jesus Christ might sliow forth all longsuffering, 
for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on 
him to life everlasting." 1 Tim. i. 1.5, 10. 'Tor CJod our 
Saviour will have all men to be saved, and to come unto 
tlie knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one 
^lediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus ; 
who gave himself a ransom for all." 1 Tim. ii. 3 — 0. 
"Great is the mystery of godliness : God Avas manifest in 
the fl<'sli, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached 
unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, received up 



432 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

into glory." 1 Tim. iii. 16. " God hath saved us," (that 
is to say, hath put us in possession of the same present 
salvation jvhich the sinful woman experienced, who, w^hile 
she prostrated herself at the feet of Jesus in faith and 
prayer, received from him these consolatory sentences : — 
" Thy sins are forgiven " thee. " Thy faith hath saved 
thee ; go in peace." Luke vii. 48, 50,) " God hath saved 
us, not according to our works, hut according to his own 
grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, who hath abo- 
lished death, and hath brought life and immortality to 
light through the gospel." 2 Tim. i. 8 — 10. To Titus : 
" Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to Titus, mine own son 
after the common faith : grace, mercy, and peace, from 
God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour," 
Titus i. 1, 4, " who gave himself for us, that he might re- 
deem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a pecu- 
liar people, zealous of good works." Titus ii. 14. " AVe 
ourselves were sometimes disobedient ; but after that the 
kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man 
appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have 
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, that being 
justified by his grace, we should be made heirs of eternal 
life." Titus iii. 3 — 7- To Philemon he writes : " Grace be 
to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord 
Jesus Christ. I thank my God, hearing of thy faith 
which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus Christ. The 
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." 
Philemon. Thus a persecuted Saviour became the Alpha 
and the Omega of this great apostle. 

In his epistle to the Hebrews he uses the same lan- 
guage. It begins and concludes with Him who is " the 
beginning and the end " of all things. Rev. xxii. 13. 
" God," saith he, " hath in these last days spoken unto us 
by his Son, by whom also he made the worlds. Who, 
being the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express 
image of his person, and upholding all things by the word 
of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat 
down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." Hebrews 
i. 1 — 3. "It became him, for whom are all things, in 
bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 433 

tlieir salvation perfect through sufferings. Forasmuch 
then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he 
also himself took part of the same ; that through death he 
might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, 
the devil ; and deliver them who through fear of death were 
all their lifetime subject to bondage." Heb. ii. 10, 14, 15. 
" Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the 
things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he 
became the author of eternal salvation." Heb. v. 8, 9. 
" This man, because he continueth ever, hath an un- 
changeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able to save 
them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing 
he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Heb. vii. 
24, 25. " Having," therefore, " an High Priest over the 
house of God, let us draw near in full assurance of faith." 
Heb. X. 21, 22. " Now faith is the substance of things 
hoped for, the evidence of things not seen ; for by it the 
elders obtained a good report, avIio through faith subdued 
kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, 
stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, 
escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made 
strong, waxed valiant in figlit. turned to flight the armies 
of the aliens." Ileb. xi. 1, 2. ."'3, .34. "Wherefore, seeing 
we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, 
let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." 
Ileb. xii. 1,2. '' Now the God of peace make you per- 
fect in every good work to do his will, working in you 
tliat which is Avell-plcasing in his sight, through -Jesus 
Christ ; to whom be glory for ever and ever." Hebrews 
xiii. 20, 21. 

The same Saviour, whom St. Paul was so anxious to 
declare in his ejiistles, he as constantly preached in his 
sennons. lie Avas no sooner converted, but, "straight- 
way," says St. Luke, "he preached Christ in the syna- 
gogues, that he is the Son of God." Acts ix. 20. Take 
an abridgment of the first of his sermons, which is left 
upon record, and which was prtniched at ^Vntioch in Pisidia. 
After asserting the fulfilment of that glorious promise 
which had been anciently given respecting the birth of 

Vol. v. u 



434 PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 

our omnipotent Saviour, he cries out, " Men and brethren, 
children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among 
you fearerti God, to you is the word of this salvation sent." 
For the inhabitants and rulers of Jerusalem, "because 
they knew him not," nor understood the sense of those 
prophecies which are read every sabbath-day, have given 
them their sad completion, by condemning the Lord of 
life and glory. '• Though they found no cause of death 
in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. 
And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, 
they laid him in a sepulchre." But God, after three days, 
raised him triumphantly from the grave ; " and he was seen 
many days" of his wondering disciples, whom he con- 
tinued to visit and instruct even after his resurrection, that 
they might become " his witnesses to the people." And 
now " we declare unto you, that God hath fulfilled the 
promise which was made unto the fathers, in that he 
hath raised up Jesus " from the dead. " Be it known 
unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this 
man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins ; and by 
him all that believe are justified from all things, from 
which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. 
Beware therefore, lest that come upon you which is spoken 
of in the prophets ; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and 
perish : for I vrork a work in your days, a work which you 
shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.*' 
Acts xiii. When the cross of Christ and its happy effects 
are thus faithfully declared, the word of God is never 
wholly preached in vain. Some, it is true, will always 
reject, and count themselves "unworthy of everlasting 
life." Acts xiii. 46. But others will rejoice in the truth, 
glorifying the word of the Lord ; and all those who, by a 
true poverty of spirit, are disposed for eternal life, shall 
effectually believe. Acts xiii. 48. 

Sometime afterwards St. Paul delivered a sermon in the 
prison at Philippi, the capital of Macedonia. St. Luke, 
his historian, has not favoured us with this discourse, but 
he has transmitted to us the subject matter of it. De- 
spairing sinner, said the apostle to the affrighted jailer, 
who lay trembling at his feet, " believe on the Lord Jesus 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. A'l't 

Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." After 
hearing thus much, the astonished man collected his family 
together, ani the apostle continued his discourse, declaring 
unto them all " the word of the Lord." Such are the 
small remains we are able to collect of this excellent ser- 
mon. But though we are unacquainted with its several 
parts, we know that it was attended with the happiest 
effects ; for before the return of day, this converted jailer, 
snatched from the very brink of destruction, was seen 
with all his believing family, rejoicing in God. Acts xvi. 

When the same apostle was afterwards appointed to 
speak before the senate at Athens, he could not, with pro- 
priety, set before those unhumbled philosophers "the 
mystery of the gospel." Eph. vi. 19. But after bearing a 
public testimony against their superstition and idolatry, 
he pressed upon them the necessity of an unfeigned 
repentance ; announcing Christ as an omniscient Judge, 
that he might afterwards proclaim him as the compassion- 
ate Saviour of men. Acts xvii. To the same purpose was 
that other sermon of his, which was delivered before the 
tribunal of Felix ; when the Roman governor was seen to 
tremble under the power of an apostle's preaching. .Vets 
xxiv. 25. The little effect produced b}' these two last- 
mentioned discourses may be brought as a proof, that the 
most momentous truths are hidden " from the wise and 
prudent," while they are "revealed unto baltes. ]Matt. 
xi. 25. 

It was by proclaiming the same mighty Saviour, that 
St. Stephen obtained for himself the first crown of mar- 
tyrdom among the Christians, liehold an abridgment ol" 
his celebrated ai)ology. '^ Men, brethren, and fathers," 
you accuse me of having spoken lilaspheniously ag;iiiist: 
Moses. But, on the contrary, I publicly acknowledge him as 
the deliverer of our fathers, and gladly embrace this oppor- 
tunity of reasoning Avith you iVom the character of tliat 
favoured prophet. " lie " once '' supposed " that by cer- 
tain of his actions, "his brethren would have understood, 
how that God by his hand would deliver them." Hut so 
far were they from understanding any such matter, that 
one of them thrust him awav, crying out, in an insulting 

u 2 



436 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

manner, "Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? 
This Moses," however, '• whom they " thus " refused," was 
chosen of* God, to he their future prince and deliverer. 
"This is that Moses who said unto the children of Israel, A 
prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your 
brethren, like unto me ;" a prophet whom you will at first 
reject, as you rejected me ; but who, nevertheless, when 
you shall receive him, will deliver you out of spiritual 
Egypt, as I once delivered you from the land of bondage, 
when you gave credence to my word. This promised 
Saviour has already made his appearance among us, whom 
ye have rejected to your own condemnation. As our 
fathers rejected Moses in the wilderness, thrusting him 
from them, and in their hearts turning back again into 
Egypt ; so you have rejected your greater Deliverer. " Ye 
uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the 
Holy Ghost ; as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the 
prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they 
have slain them Avhich showed before of the coming of 
the Just One ; of whom ye have been now the betrayers 
and murderers ;" ye " Avho have received the law by the 
disposition of angels, and have not kept it." Acts vii. 

That the powerful preaching of the gospel is sometimes 
made " the savour of death unto death," 2 Cor. ii. 16, 
is sufficiently clear from the following account. After 
Stephen had finished this discourse, the hearts of his 
hearers were transported with rage, insomuch that " they 
gnashed upon him with their teeth." Meanwhile, the 
holy martyr continued to proclaim Christ ; and, far from 
being intimidated by their threatenings, looking steadfastly 
up to heaven, in a kind of ecstasy, produced by the 
strength of his faith, the vigour of his hope, and the 
ardour of his love, he cried out, " I see the heavens 
opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand 
of God." And while the multitude ran upon him Avith 
stones, after committing his own soul to the care of his 
exalted Saviour, he cried with a loud voice, " Lord, lay 
not this sin to their charge." Behold an apology, which 
was looked upon by the preachers of the day as replete 
with ignorance and fanaticism, though delivered by an 



PORTRA.it op ST. PAUL. 4.37 

evangelist, who was filled with faith, with power, and with 
the Holy Ghost ! 

The same doctrine was preached by the evangelists, 
who were dispersed abroad by the persecution excited 
against Stephen, and Avas followed by the benediction of 
the Lord. For we find, that some of them, entering into 
the city of Antioch, spake unto the Grecians there, 
preaching the Lord Jesus; and " the hand of the Lord was 
with them," so that " a great number believed and turned 
unto the Lord." Acts xi. 19 — 21. 

We shall go on to select a few proofs, that all the 
apostles were of one heart in this matter, preaching Jesus 
Christ as the Saviour of all those who believe in him. 

Though St. James professedly wrote his epistle against 
the error of those who had destroyed the law of charity 
by an imaginary faith in Christ, yet so far is he from de- 
spising the substantial faith of believers, that, as " the 
servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ," he exhorts 
false brethren to seek after and manifest it by its proper 
fruits. He even employs a species of irony to point out 
the necessity of this powerful grace : " Sliow me thy faith 
without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my 
works." James ii. 18. He intimates, that our faith must 
be tried by divers temptations, in order to our becoming 
perfect and entire before ({od ; whence we learn, thai, 
according to his judgment, the perfection of Christians 
al)solutely depends upon the perfection of tluir faith. 
James i. 2 — 4. On this account lie exhorts us to ask 
wisdom in faith. James i. (5. And, lastly, he declares, 
that the prayer of faith sliall be powerful enough to pr(j- 
oure healtli for the sick, and remission for the sinful. 
James v. 1."). 

Tliere needs nothing more than an attentive perusal of 
tills epistle to convince us tliat St. James announces a faith 
which saves the Christian by producing in him hope, 
charity, and every good work. 

The same doctrine was inculcated by St. Peter, both 
in his sermons and episth-s. Three thousand souls were 
converted while he cried out, upon the day of pentecost, 
" Ye men of Israel, Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved 



438 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs ; 
him, being delivered by the determinate counsel of God, 
ye have tftken, and by wicked hands have crucified and 
slain ; whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains 
of death, because it was not possible that he " (who " is the 
resurrection and the life," John xi. 25) " should be holden 
of it. This Jesus therefore, being by the right hand 'of 
God exalted, hath shed forth this, which ye now see and 
hear. Therefore let all the house of Israel assuredly 
know, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye 
have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Now, when the 
convicted multitude inquired, in their distress, " Men and 
brethren, what shall we do ?" Peter answered and said, 
" Repent, and be baptized every one of you," (that is to 
say, first cordially believe, and then by baptism make a 
public confession of that faith,) " in the name of Jesus 
Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the 
gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts ii. 

His second discourse was to the same effect : " The 
God of our fathers hath glorified his son Jesus ; whom 
ye delivered up, and denied in the presence of Pilate, 
when he was determined to let him go. But ye desired 
a murderer to be granted unto you ; and killed the Prince 
of life, whom God hath raised from the dead, whereof we 
are witnesses. And faith in his name hath made this 
man strong, whom ye see and know : yea, the faith which 
is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the 
presence of you all. And now, brethren, repent ye, and 
be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the 
times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the 
Lord." Acts iii. 13 — 19. 

His apology before the council was founded upon the 
same divine truths. " Be it known unto you all, and to 
all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus of 
Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the 
dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you 
whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you 
builders, which is become the head of the corner. Nei- 
ther is there salvation in any other: for there is none 
other name under heaven given among men, whereby we 



PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 439 

must be saved." Acts iv. 10 — 12. Thus St. Peter, " filled 
with the Holy Ghost, spake the word of God Avith bold- 
ness, and with great power gave witness to the resurrec- 
tion of the Lord Jesus." Acts iv. 31, 33. Even after 
being commanded to speak no more in the name of 
Jesus, he departed from the council, rejoicing that he 
was counted worthy to suifer shame for his jMaster's 
sake ; " and daily in the temple, and in every house, he 
ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Acts 
V. 40—42. 

The fourth sermon of this apostle perfectly corresponds 
with the foregoing. This discourse was delivered in the 
house of Cornelius the centurion, to whom an angel had 
before revealed that Peter should declare unto him 
things whereby both himself and his house should be 
saved. Of all the seimons which have ever been preach- 
ed, this was perhaps the most effectual ; since it is ob- 
served, that " the Holy Ghost fell on all them which 
heard the word." Take an abridgment of this powerful 
discourse : God hath proclaimed peace " to the children 
of Israel by Jesus Christ, whom they slew and hanged 
on a tree." But he, being raised again by the power 
of God, " commanded us to preach unto the people, and 
to testify, that it is he which was ordained of God to be 
the judge of quick and dead. To him give all the pro- 
phets witness, that whosoever believeth in him shall 
receive remission of sins." Acts x. 3(! — 43. 

And, as in his sermons, so also in his epistles, St. Peter 
was ever anxious to declare salvation through faith in the 
name of Jesus Clirist. 

" Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect of 
God. Blessed be God, who hath begotten us again unto 
a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Clirist from 
tlie dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, reserved in 
heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God 
through faith unto salvation." 1 Peter i. 1 — 5. "It is 
contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief 
corner stone, elect, precious : and he that believeth on 
hira shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which 
believe he is precious : but unto them which be disobe- 



440 I'UKTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

dient, he is made a stone of stumbling and a rock of 
offence." 1 Peter ii. 6 — 8. 

The second epistle of St. Peter was written for the con- 
firmation of the weak, and the establishment of the strong. 
In the first verse, Christ is represented as the author and 
finisher of our faith ; in the last, the giorj of our sah'^ation 
is expressly ascribed to the same divine person ; and these 
two verses may be given as an abridgment of the whole 
epistle. 

This powerful faith and this adorable Saviour were as 
constantly proclaimed by the apostle John. Though St. 
Luke has not transmitted to us any extracts from his dis- 
courses, yet his doctrine is sufficiently manifested in his 
epistles. 

" If any man sin," saith this favoured apostle, " we 
have an advocate Avith the Father, Jesus Christ the righ- 
teous ; and he is the propitiation for our sins." 1 John ii, 
1, 2. " He was manifested to take away our sins. And 
this is the commandment of God, That we should believe 
on the name of his Son Jesus Christ." 1 John iii. 5, 23. 
" Whosoever believeth is born of God ; whatsoever is 
born of God overcometh the world ; and this is the 
victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." 1 John 
V. 1, 4, "These things have I written unto you that 
believe on the name of the Son of God ; that ye may know 
that ye have eternal life, and that ye may" yet more stead- 
fastly " believe." 1 John v. 13. 

" Many deceivers," continues the same apostle in his 
second epistle, " have entered into the world, who confess 
not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a 
deceiver and an antichrist. Whosoever abideth not in 
the doctrine of Christ hath not God ; he that abideth in 
the doctrine of Christ hath both the Father and the Son." 
2 John 7, 9- Here St, John, foreseeing the melancholy 
revolution that would one day be effected in the church 
by these antichristian teachers, notwithstanding his 
natural gentleness, cries out against them with an 
holy indignation, " If there come any unto you, and 
bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your 
house, neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 441 

him God speed is partaker of liis evil deeds." 2 John 
10, 11. 

In his third epistle he expresses the utmost joy over 
Gaius, on account of his steady adherence to the ti-uth ; 
assuring him, that he had no gi'eater joy than to hear that 
his children continued to walk in the truths of the gospel. 
He commends his charity toward the people of God, and 
exhorts him to continue a fellow-helper to the truth by 
affording an hospitable reception to those who, with a 
view of spreading that truth, were journeying from place 
to place. 

St. Jude, in his short epistle, writes thus: "Beloved, 
when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the com- 
mon salvation, it was needful for me to exhort you, that 
ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once 
delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men 
crept in unawares, denying the only Lord God, and our 
Lord Jesus Christ." Jude 3, 4. " But ye, beloved, build- 
ing up yourselves on your most holy faitb, praying in tln' 
Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of (Jud, looking 
for the mercy of our Lord Jlsus Christ unto eteriial life." 
Jude 20, 21." 

The concluding book of the new testament al)ounds 
with striking testimonies to tbe i"or('g(Mng trutbs, and was 
added for the consolation of the church in every agf It 
opens with a sublime ciogv, pronoune('<l upon that 
incomprehensilib' S;niour who is '" the al[)ha and the 
omega, the faithful witness, the iir^t-begotten of the dead, 
and tlie prince of tin- kings of tlie earth, who hath h)Ved 
us, and washed us from our sins in his own bh)od, and hath 
made us kings and priests unto Ciod and his Fatlur I'ol- 
evei- and ever." Rev i. o, (i. 

The faithful, who groan in secret to behold theii- Mas- 
ter rejected by deists and negleefed ])y the gi-eater part of 
('hristians, attend with holy trans[)ort to the re]>r(-enta- 
tioiis liere given i)V St. John. Here thev percei'/e that 
cfuidescending Saviour, who Avas dislioiioured upon earth, 
acknowledged and adored liv the hosts ot liea\eii. 'J'liey 
see the prostrate elders, and Ijcludd the innuineralile 
multitude of the redeemed lissembled before the throne. 



442 PORTE AIT OF ST. PAUL. 

They hear that new song of adoration in which angels and 
the spirits of just men made perfect unanimously cry out, 
"Worthy i» the Lamb that was slain to receive power, 
and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and 
glory, and blessing." Rev. v. 12. These are scenes which 
the believer is assisted to realize, by means of a lively 
faith, and in which he already bears an humble part, 
ascribing, with his more exalted brethren, "blessing, and 
honour, and glory, and power unto him that sitteth upon 
the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever." Rev. 
v. 13. 

This mysterious book concludes with that short prayer 
of St. John which shall one day be offered up, with the 
energy of the Holy Spirit, by ten thousand times ten 
thousand of the faithful : " Come, Lord Jesus," fully to 
accomplish thy gracious promises. Rev. xxii. 20. 

If it be here inquired, Do not all ministers maintain 
this scriptural faith? I answer : It is a rare thing with 
the generality of ministers to treat on a point of so vast 
importance ; and even when they are heard to speak of 
this mighty grace, they represent it as something mani- 
festly different from that living faith by which we are 
regenerated. If ever they discourse with their catechu- 
mens on this subject, they speak as men who attempt to 
teach what they have yet to learn. They frequently 
repeat the word "faith," but are unable to open its spi- 
ritual signification. They take it for granted, that all 
their neighbours are possessed of this grace, except those 
who openly reject the word of God ; and thus they be- 
come perfectly satisfied with that species of faith against 
which St. Paul and St. James were authorized to de- 
nounce the anathemas of the gospel. On this account 
one of the last texts a worldly pastor would make 
choice of is that solemn exhortation of the apostle : 
" Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith ; 
prove your own selves : knoAV ye not your own selves, 
how that Christ Jesus is in you, except ye be repro- 
bates?" 2 Cor. xiii. 5. The faith with which he con- 
tents himself, and which he publishes to others, may be 
equally possessed by those who are conformable to this 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 443 

present evil -world, and those who "have crucified the 
flesh with the aflfections and lusts." Gal. v. 24. It be- 
longs to self-exalting pharisees, who boast of their own 
righteousness, as well as to those humble believers who 
count themselves unworthy of the benefits they have 
received. 

Further : so far is the ill-instructed minister from 
preaching the true faith, that he is always prepared to 
plead against it. In confirmation of this melancholy 
truth, take the following relation : — A believer, whose 
circumstances frequently engaged him in conversation 
with a worldly man of his neighbourhood, once took 
occasion to ofler him such advice as brotherly charity sug- 
gested. After the customary civilities, " Sir," said he, 
" we have lived as neighbours long enough to know one 
another ; and I presume the intimacy of our acquaintance 
authorizes us to speak to each other without any reserve. 
It has given me real satisfaction to observe your con- 
stant attendance at our church, and your strict attention 
to her most solemn services. Nevertheless, permit me 
to express my fears, that you are not yet seeking the 
kingdom of God with that earnestness and solicitude, 
without which it can never be obtained. Though you 
are constant at church, yet you are as constant at tables 
of festivity ; and an approaching entertainment appears 
to afford you greater pleasure than an approaching sacra- 
ment. I regularly observe the Gazette upon your table, 
with a variety of new and ingenious publications ; but I 
have ne.er found you peru^ing the sacred pnges of a more 
important volume. I liave heard you sjieak in an agree- 
able manner upon twenty different things; but cannot 
reeulleet that your conversation ever turned upon what 
our Lord has described as tlie 'one thing needful.' Luke 
X. 42. In short, sir, I apprehend, from your conduct, 
that you are altogether unac(j[uaint('(l Avith evang''!ical 
faith; and if so, your hope is as fallacious as your devo- 
tion is Pharisaical." 

Ncii^Iihuur. — I am obliged, sir, by the interest you 
appear to take in my salvation ; but allow me to say witli 
tSulomon, " There is a time for all things." 



444 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

Believer. — Yes, sir, for all that is good ; but if you 
really believe there is a time for all things, is it not amaz- 
ing that, aftgr you have found four seasons in every day 
convenient for eating and drinking in your family, you 
should find no proper opportunity, through the whole 
course of a week, to pour out your prayers with that 
family before God ? 

Neighbour. — It is true, I do not pique myself upon 
my piety ; and I will confess to you, that I frequent the 
church and the holy communion, rather out of decency 
than choice. But, notwithstanding this, my faith is as 
orthodox as that of my neighbours. We all believe in 
God as our Creator, and in Christ as our Redeemer, 
except some few persons, who glory in trampling all reve- 
lation under foot. For my own part, I have never 
erred from the faith, since I first l)ecame acquainted 
with the apostles' creed ; and that was so early in life, 
that I cannot now recollect who first instructed me 
in it. 

Believer. — It seems then, neighbour, that you im- 
bibed your faith as you drew in your nurse's milk ; and 
you have learned to believe in Christ, rather than in 
Mahomet, because you happened to be taught the English 
rather than the Turkish language. 

Neighbour. — That may be. However, if I had been a 
Mahometan, I trust I might also have been an honest 
man. I give to every one his due. This is the grand 
principle upon which I have always acted ; and from 
this I leave every rational man to form a judgment of 
my faith. 

Believer. — Ah, sir ! if such are the principles by 
which your conduct is regulated, then make a full surren- 
der of your heart to God, and consecrate to his service 
those powers of body and soul which you have received 
from his bounty, and to which he has so just a title. 
But, alas ! without piety, your strict justice is like the 
fidelity of a subject who fulfils his engagements with a 
few particular persons, while he withholds the homage 
due to his rightful sovereign. If such a subject can be 
termed " faithful," then may you with propriety be ac- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 445 

counted just, while you offer not to God that tiihute of 
love, gratitude, adoration, and obedience which is your 
reasonable service. You made a confession but now, that 
you piqued not yourself upon your piety : it would not 
have astonished me more had you said, that you piqued not 
yourself upon paying your debts, and acting with common 
honesty in the w^orld. Alas ! sir, your boasted principles 
do but confirm the fears to which your conduct had given 
rise. I entreat you in the most solemn manner, '' examine 
yourself, whether you be in the faith." 

Neighbour. — AVhat do you call " faith ? " 

Believer. — The scriptures teach us, that we must 
believe with the heart; and that " faith is the substance of 
things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen." 
Hebrews xi. 1. He, therefore, who truly believes in the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, carries within him 
a lively demonstration of the Almighty's presence, Avhich 
penetrates him with sentiments of fear, respect, and love 
for a Being so powerful, just, and good ; he possesses an 
internal evidence of the affection of that Redeemer upon 
Avhom alone he grounds his hope of salvation, saluting 
him, with Xalhanaol, as " the Son of God, the King of 
Israel ; " John i. 41) ; and he discovers in his own heart 
the most indisputable testimonies of the sanctifying and 
consoling operations of the Holy Spirit. Now, from this 
threefold demonstration, he is enabled to say, witli suitable 
sentiments of gratitude and devotion, " Behold, what 
ni;inner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that 
Ave should be called the sons of God." 1 John iii. 1, " He 
hath made us accepted in the Beloved, in whom we have 
redemption through his ])lood, the forgiveness of sins." 
Eph. i. 6, 7- " And the Spirit itself beareth witness with 
our spirit, that we are the children of God." liomans 
viii. Ki. Tell nie then, since you boast of having re- 
ceived the Christian faith, have you ever experienced 
those salutary effects of i'aith which 1 have now dc- 
scril)ed ? 

Xeighboiir. — If that demou'^tration and that lively 
representation of which you speak are essential to Chris- 
tian faith, 1 must confess that to such a faith I am a per- 



446 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

feet stranger. But tlie writings of St. Paul, wliose defini- 
tion of faith you haye just cited, are generally looked 
upon as rgnarkably dark and mysterious : I wish you had 
rather quoted St. John. 

Believer. — I doubt, sir, whether you will gain any thing 
by such an appeal. " Whosoever belie veth that Jesus is 
the Christ," saith St. John, " is born of God. This is the 
victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who 
is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth 
that Jesus is the Son of God ? " 1 John v. 1, 4, 5. You 
perceive, sir, that, according to this apostle, faith is a 
principle of grace and power sufficiently forcible and vic- 
torious to regenerate and make us partakers of the divine 
nature, enabling us to triumph equally over the most 
seducing, as well as the most afflicting, occurrences in the 
world. Have you obtained, or have you even sought, the 
faith of which such excellent things are spoken ? 

Neighbour. — You embarrass me. I never heard the 
least intimation of such a faith in this country. 

Believer. — Indeed, sir, you are in an error ; since this 
very faith is plainly set forth in the Helvetic Confession, 
chapter xvi. " The Christian faith," say the pious ministers 
who composed that work, " is not a mere human opinion 
or persuasion, but a state of full assurance ; it not only 
gives a constant and clear assent to, but also compre- 
hends and embraces, the truths of God, as proposed to us 
in the apostles' creed. The soul by this act unites itself 
to God as to its only, eternal, and sovereign good, and to 
Jesus Christ as the centre of all the promises." Have you, 
then, this divine persuasion, this full assurance, of the 
truths of our holy religion ? And have you experienced 
this act, by which the soul is united to God, through 
Christ, as to its sovereign good ? 

Neighbour. — I have, undoubtedly, a persuasion that 
the word of God is true ; but how may I absolutely 
determine whether or no I am a possessor of the faith of 
which you speak ? 

Believer. — If you are possessed of faith, you have some 
experimental knowledge of those happy effects of that 
grace which are thus enumerated in the same Confession : 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 447 

'• True faith restores peace to tlie conscience. It procures 
a free access to God, enabling us both to approach him 
with confidence, and to obtain from him the thin2:s 
■\ve need. It retains us in the path of obedience, 
enduing us with power to fulfil our several duties 
both to God and to our neighbour. It maintains our 
patience in adversity ; and disposes us, at all times, to a 
sincere confession of our confidence. To sum up all in a 
single word, it produces every good work. Let it be 
observed," says the same Confession, *' that we do not here 
speak of a pretended faith, which is vain, ineffectual, and 
dead ; but of a living, effectual, and vivifying faith. This 
is a doctrine which St. James cannot be understood to 
combat, seeing he speaks of a vain and presumptuous con- 
fidence, of which some were known to boast, while they 
had not Christ living in them by means of faith," 

Neighbour. — "Christ living in them by means of 
faith ! " I pray, sir, what is to be understood by this expres- 
sion ? I do not comprehend the thing. But, if I recol- 
lect, I shall have an opportunity, in a few hours, of men- 
tioning the matter to our pastor, whom I expect here this 
cA'cnlng, to make up a party at cards. 

Tlie true believer, after thanking his worldly neighbour 
for the patience with which he had listened to his con- 
versation, took his leave and withdrew, apprehending 
every evil consequence from the decision of a pastor who 
was known to indulge a taste for play and vain amuse- 
ment. Ilis fears were too well founded. The minister, 
true to his engagement, arrived at the appointed hour, 
and the g<'utleman thus eagerly addressed him : " ] 
have been receiving some singular advice from a person 
of a very unaccountaljlc turn, who appears to agree eitlier 
with the mystics or the pietists. He spoke much of faith ; 
asserting that all true Cliristians are really regenerate, and 
that they have Christ living in them by faith. What 
think you, sir, of such assertions as these ?" "I will tell 
you freely," replied the minister, " that these abstruse 
points of doctrine are among those profound mysteries 
which neither you nor I are appointed t<» fathom. It is 
usual with enthusiasts to speak in this manner ; but such 



448 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

mystic jargon is now out of season. There have been ages 
ii;i which divines were accustomed to speculate concerning 
this faith, ^nd publicly to insist upon it in their sermons. 
But in an age like this, enlightened by sound philosophy 
and learned discoveries, we no longer admit what we can- 
not comprehend. I advise you, as a friend, to leave these 
idle subtilties close shut up in the unintelligible volumes 
of our ancient theologists. The only material thing is, to 
conduct ourselves as honest men. If we receive revelation 
in a general sense, and have good works to produce, there 
can be no doubt but that our faith is of the proper kind, and 
highly acceptable before God." To this short discourse the 
card-table succeeded, which served to strengthen the 
bands of intimacy between the careless clergyman and his 
deluded neighbour; so perfectly alike were their faith and 
their manners. 

The circumstances alluded to in the above relation are 
not imaginary ; and there is every reason to fear, that 
circumstances of the same nature are no less common in 
other Christian countries, than in that which gave birth to 
the writer of these pages. 

Thus the worldly minister, instead of preaching this 
important doctrine in its purity, seeks to destroy even the 
curiosity which would engage an irreligious man to inquire 
into the necessity, the nature, the origin, and the effects 
of evangelical faith. And while the generality of those 
who are required to publish this victorious grace are seen 
to reject it with contempt, no wonder that the true minis- 
ter esteems himself obliged to contend for it with 
increasing earnestness, both in public and in private. 
Jude 3. 

To close this section : when the Christian minister 
proclaims salvation by faith, he adheres not only to the 
holy scriptures, but also to those public confessions of 
faith which are in common use among the churches of 
Christ. " We believe," say the churches of France, " that 
everything necessary to our salvation was revealed and 
offered to us in Christ, who is made unto us "• wisdom, 
righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.'" Article 
xiii. " We believe that we are made partakers of righ- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 4-^9 

teousness hy faith alone ; since it is said, that he," Christ, 
" suffered in order to procure salvation for us, and that 
■vvliosoever believeth in him shall not perish." Article xx. 
'• We believe that we are illuminated by faith, through the 
secret grace of the Holy Spirit." Article xxi. " We 
believe that, by this faith, yve are regenerated to newness 
of life, being by nature in bondage to sin. So that faith, 
instead of cooling in us the desire of living righteously and 
godly, naturally tends to excite such desire, and necessarily 
produces every good work." Article xxii. 

Such also is the doctrine of the Helvetic Confession : 
" We believe, with St. Paul, that sinful man is justified 
l)y faith alone in Jesus Christ, and not by the laAV. Faith 
receives Jesus, who is our righteousness ; and on this 
account justification is attributed to faith. That by 
means of faith we receive Jesus Christ, he himself has 
taught us in the gospel, where he significantly uses the 
terms applied to eating for believing ; for, as by eating 
we receive bodily nourishment, so by believing Ave are 
made partakers of Christ." Chapter xv. " Man is not 
regenerated by faith, that he should continue in a state 
of indolence, but rather that he should apply himself 
without ceasing to the performance of those things which 
are useful and good ; since the I^ord hath said, ' Every 
good tree bringeth forth good fruit.' Matt. vii. 19. ' He 
that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth 
much fruit.' John xv. 5." 

The church of England expresses herself in the follow- 
ing terms upon salvation by faith, and the good w^orks 
produced by that faith : " We are accounted righteous 
before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works and 
descrvings. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith 
only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of com- 
fort." Article xi. " Cood works do spring out necessa- 
rily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a 
lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree dis- 
cerned by the fruit." Article xii. 



450 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 



THE TRUE MINISTER GOES ON TO ANNOUNCE A LIVELY 

HOPE. 

"Godliness with contentment is great gain;" 1 Tim. 
vi. 6 ; and the pastor who is possessed of so invaluable a 
blessing cannot be backward in soliciting all within the 
circle of his acquaintance to share it with him. Happy 
in the enjoyment of that precious secret which enables 
him to rejoice without ceasing, he readily communicates 
it to the afflicted by leading them to that lively hope 
which consoles and sustains the heart of every believer. 

In a world where the bitterness of evil is continually 
increasing, where we discover the scourges of a God who 
will not fail to chastise his rebellious creatures ; where 
disappointment and death successively deprive us of our 
dearest comforts ; and where the forerunners of death are 
continually weakening all our imperfect enjoyments ; — in 
such a world it is evident that the most exalted pleasure 
we are capable of must spring from a well-grounded hope 
of those immortal joys which are reserved for the righ- 
teous. The language of mortality is too feeble to describe 
either the power or the sweetness of such an hope. 
Here we can only cry out, with the Psalmist, " taste 
and see how gracious the Lord is," Psalm xxxiv. 8, in 
providing so potent a cordial for those who are travelling 
through a vale of tears. 

The lively hope which gives birth to a believer's felicity 
is one of the most exhilarating fruits of his faith, and is 
inseparably connected with it ; since true " faith is the 
substance of things hoped for." In proportion as the 
truths and promises upon which faith is founded are 
evidenced and apprehended, such will be the hope with 
which that faith is accompanied. If Moses then, by the 
faith which he prpjessed, was enabled to renounce the 
prospect of an earthly crown, with the hope of obtaining 
a more glorious inheritance ; if he esteemed " the re- 
proach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of 
Egypt, having respect unto the recompence of reward;" 
Heb. xi. 26 ; what may not be expected from an hope 
founded upon those precious promises which have been 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 4")] 

sealed with the blood of that condescending Saviour who 
'• brought life and immortality to light through the r.()s- 
pel ?" 2 Tim. i. 10. " The law," saith the apostle, ^ made- 
nothing perfect ; but the bringing in of a better hope did, 
by the which we di'aw nigh unto God." Heb. vii. 19. 
'• Seeing then that Ave have such hope," continues the 
same apostle, " we all, with open face beholding as in a 
glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same 
image from glory to glory." '2 Cor. iii. 12, 18. 

VTe every day observe the men of the world exulting in 
the hope of some temporal advantage. The prospect of 
an honourable title, an augmentation of fortune, an 
advantageous marriage, or even a poor party of pleasure, 
is sufficient to allure, to animate, to enrapture them. 
They will even acknowledge, that the flattering hope of 
future pleasure is sweeter than enjoyment itself Who 
then shall attempt to declare those transports which flow 
from the lively hope of a triumphing Christian ? — a hope 
which is founded upon the Rock of ages ; and which has 
for its multifarious object, rlclus, honours, and pleasures, 
as much superior to those of worldly men as the soul is 
superior to the body, heaven to earth, and eternity to 
the present fleeting moment. 

The true minister publicly announces tliis hope to tlio 
world ; persuaded th it, if mankind were once hapjiy enough 
to possess it, they would exeliange a load oi" misery for a 
]>ro^peet of blessedness. liut since he knows tliat this 
ho[>e can never be admitted into licMts repl<>te with sin, 
his first concern is to overthrow tlie v;iin confideiict" of 
the impenitent, to undermine the presuni[ttioii of tlie ]ilia- 
risaical, and to point out the true distin( tioii between a 
sinner's groundless expectation, and the well-founded ho{ie 
of a Iteliever in Clirist. 

In every i)lae(» there are many to be found who, with- 
out evangelical faith or hope, nrc fiUed with a presuTUption 
as blind as that of the phaiisees, and as fatal as that of 
heathens hardened in their sin. To every such person 
the true minister uniformly declares, that he is " without 
Christ," without " hope, and without (!od in the Avorld." 
Eph. ii. 1 2. These very men, it is probable, may oifer 



452 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

to the Deity a formal worship, and indulge high expec- 
tations from the mercy of a divine Mediator, though they 
are totally, destitute of an unfeigned " repentance toward 
God, and" a true "faith toAvard our Lord Jesus Christ" 
Acts XX. 21. Thus far the unconverted may proceed in- a 
seemingly religious course. But the regenerate alone can 
truly say, " The grace of God that hringeth salvation hath 
appeared unto all men, teaching us that, denying ungod- 
liness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righ- 
teously, and godly, in this present world ; looking for that 
blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God 
and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Titus ii. 11 — 13. 

The hope of unrighteous men is founded upon pride, 
false notions of the Deity, ignorance of his law, and upon 
those prejudices which the irreligious communicate one to 
another. On the contrary, the hope of believers has for 
its basis the word of him " who cannot lie." Titus i. 2. 
" Whatsoever things were written aforetime," saith the 
apostle, " were written for our learning, that we" (the 
children of God) " through patience and comfort of the 
scriptures might have hope." Rom. xv. 4. It is founded 
not only upon the word, but equally upon the oath, of 
God. " Men verily swear by the greater : and an oath 
for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein 
God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of 
the promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it 
by an oath : that by two immutable things, in which it 
was impossible for God to lie," (namely, his word and his 
oath,) " we might have strong consolation, who have fled 
for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us : which 
hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and 
steadfast." Heb. vi. 16 — 19. 

When the faithful minister has rooted up every false 
hope he then announces Jesus Christ, who hath brought 
in a better hope than that of heathens or Jews. Observe 
here the reason why those pastors who preach not Christ 
are incapable of doing any thing toward the furtherance 
of that living faith of which Christ is the grand object 
and that lively hope of which he is the inexhaustible 
source. " Jesus Christ," saith St. Paul, "is our hope-'* 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 453 

1 Tim. i. 1 ; and we declare unto you " the mj^stery -vvliich 
hath been hid from ages," and is still hidden from 
■worldly men, " which is Christ in you, the hope of 
glory." Thus the everlasting Son of the Father is made 
to his true followers the beginning and the consummation 
of hope, as well as " the author and finisher of faith." 
Heb. xii. 2. 

By the mercy of God, and through the redemption that is 
in Jesus Christ, the believer has already received the promise 
of a free pardon for past oflPences ; otherwise he deserves not 
to be termed a believer; at least, he is destitute of evangelical 
faith. Xow when the believer sincerely receives the glad 
tidings of redeeming grace, he then assuredly receives Jesus 
Cbrist, in whom "all the promises are yea and amen;" 2 Cor. 
i. 20; and in such circumstances he would conduct himself 
in a manner contrary to that which both reason and scrip- 
ture prescribe, if he should refuse to rejoice in God his Saviour. 
By such a mode of acting, he would prove his want of grati- 
tude for that which Christ hath already done, and of hope 
for that which he hath promised still to perform. But when 
he gives himself up to a joy as reasonable as it is refresh- 
ing, he then answers the gracious designs of his benevolent 
Lord. Continually taken up with more satisfactory enjoy- 
ments, he despises the seducing pleasures of sin, lie 
carries in his own bosom a source of celestial pleasure, 
while the man of the world disquiets his heart in tlie vain 
pursuit of earthly j<>ys. The difference between the en- 
joyment of these two eliaracters is as gi'cat as betwixt 
the rational pleasure of those who gather their wheat into 
the barn, and the puerile mirth of children who are busied 
in coHecting the scattered straws and thorns: the former 
are securing an inestiinable treasure, while the latter have 
nothing more in view tlian to dance round a short-lived 
blaze, the truest emblem of a sinner's satisfaction. 

In the holy scriptures very excellent things are spoken 
of the hope which produces this sacred joy. I. It is a 
divine hope, since it has for its object the enjoyment of 
God, and l>eeause it draws supplies of strength from that 
Holy Sj)irit, which discovers to l)elievers the greatness and 
stability of gospel promises. Thus St. Paul teachcth us, 



454 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

that " the Father of glory " giveth us " the Spirit of wis- 
dom and revelation ; enlightening the eyes of our under- 
standing, that we may know what is the hope of our 
calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance 
among the saints." Eph. i. 17, 18. 

2. It gives honour to the faithfulness and power of God. 
" Abraham, saith St. Paul, against all human probability, 
believing in " hope, staggered not at the promise, but was 
strong in faith, giving glory to God ; being fully persuaded, 
that what he had promised, he was also able to perform." 
Rom.iv. 18, 21. "Therefore, being justified," like Abra- 
ham, " by faith, we rejoice," continues, the apostle, w^ith a 
confidence like his, 'in hope of the glory of God. And" 
this " hope maketh not ashamed." Rom. v, 1, 2, 5. How 
unlike the fallacious hope of worldly men, who are fre- 
quently put to shame by their blasted expectations ! 

3. This hope is said to fill us with a holy joy. " Blessed 
be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," saith 
St. Peter, " who hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, 
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 
"Wherein ye greatly rejoice." 1 Peter i. 3, 6. And on this 
account it was, that the apostle Paul prayed with so much 
ardour for an increase of hope among believers. " Now 
the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believ- 
ing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the 
Holy Ghost." Rom. xv. 13. 

4. It actually saves us, as St. Paul himself declares in 
the following words : — " I reckon that the sufferings of the 
present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory 
which shall be revealed in us. And," supported by this 
sweet persuasion, " we wait for the adoption, to wit, the 
redemption of our body. For," in this respect, " we are 
saved by hope." Rom. viii. 18, 23, 24. 

5. It is equally sweet and solid, since it rests upon the 
right which the children of God may claim to the inherit- 
ance of their heavenly Father ; a sacred right, which is 
confirmed to them with the utmost solemnity in the new 
testament. Now every man who receives, with sincerity, 
the Lord of life and glory, receives with him a title to 
everlasting possessions, and ranks, from that moment 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 455 

among "the sons of God." John i. 12. So that to such, 
the following passages may, with propriety, be applied : — 
" He hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom ye 
also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the 
gospel of your salvation : in whom also, after that ye 
believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, 
which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemp- 
tion of the purchased possession." Eph. i. 6, 13 — 14. 

6. It purifies us, " Now are we," saith St. John, " the 
sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be : 
but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like 
him ; for we shall §ee him as he is. And every man that 
hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is 
pure. Whosoever is born of God," or regenerated by a 
true faith and a lively hope, " doth not commit sin ; for 
his seed remaineth in him : and he cannot sin, because he 
is born of God." 1 John iii. 2, 3, 9. The truth of this 
assertion is clear to the eye of reason. AVe fall into sin, 
because we suffer ourselves to be seduced by the allure- 
ments of some transitory good, which presents itself either 
to our senses or imagination. But when we are once 
persuaded that infinite enjoyments await us, we can then 
look with contempt upon those deceitful appearances ; and 
after our hearts are animated with a confident hope of 
possessing those invisil>I(; realities, the charm of sin is 
broken. In sueli a statt', we ])reak through temptations 
with as much resolution as a prince, who is going to take 
possession of a kingdom, renounces the little amusements 
that oeeiipied his thoughts before tliey were cngiossed by 
a concern of so vast imj)ortance. '' \\']io is he that over- 
cometh the Avorld," but the man who l»elieves with that 
'" faith" which affords him a lively representation of "things 
hoped for?" Compare 1 John v. 5, with llel). xi. 1. 

7- This lively hoj)e produces charity in the soul. " Wc 
give thanks to God," saith the Apostle, '•'" praying always 
for you, since we heard of the love Avhich ye have to all 
the saints, for the Ijope which is laid up for you in hea- 
ven, wliereof ye heard beiore in tlie Avord of the truth 
of the gospel." Col. i. 3 — 5. N;iy, of so jirevailing an 
inllueucc is this solid hope, that the apostle intimates, in 



456 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

the same chapter, that believers shall be presented before 
God "holy and unblameable," provided they be not 
" moved away from the hope of the gospel." Col. i. 22, 
23. "For," continues he, "we are made partakers of 
Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stead- 
fast unto the end." Heb. iii. 14. " And we desire that 
every one of you do show the same diligence to the full 
assurance of hope unto the end : that ye be not slothful, 
but followers of them who through faith and patience 
inherit the promises." Heb. vi. 11, 12. 

8. This hope is full of consolation. "We who re- 
main," saith the apostle, " shall be caught up to meet the 
Lord in the air ; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 
Wherefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Thess. 
iv, 17, 18. "Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and 
God, even our Father, which hath loved us. and hath given 
us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 
comfort your hearts." 2 Thess. ii. 16, 17- When we ob- 
serve among us some who are disquieted and cast down, 
Avho want courage to support alBiction without impatience, 
and to fill up their duties with cheerfulness, we then be- 
hold persons who never enjoyed, or who have unhappily 
lost, the lively hope of true Christians. If all ministers 
of the gospel had experienced the sweetness and power of 
this hope, with what pleasure would they publish it to the 
afflicted ! And with Avhat perseverance would they join 
to their discourses the most ardent prayers, that all their 
hearers might come to the enjoyment of so invaluable a 
blessing ! 

When the tnie minister leads his flock to this lively 
and joyful hope, he treads in the footsteps of his divine 
Master. Christ, it is true, began his ministry by preach- 
ing repentance. Matthew iv. 17- But immediately after 
we find him placing before the believer's eye beatitudes 
and promises of the most consolatory nature. Matt. v. 1, 
&c. In a variety of passages, he exhorts his followers 
to the exercise of a joyful hope in the severest trials, 
making that an indispensable duty, which is indeed a 
glorious privilege. " Fear not them, which are not 
able to kill the soul. The ver^- hairs of your head are 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 457 

all numbered. Whosoever shall confess me before men, him 
will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." 
]\Iatt. X. 28, 30, 32. "Fear not, little flock ; for it is your 
Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 
xii. 32. '' I give unto my sheep eternal life ; and they 
shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my 
hand." John x. 27, 28. 

He appears anxious that his people should participate 
his peace, his consolation, and his confidence, till they come to 
the possession of consummate blessedness. " These things 
have I spoken," saith he, " that in me ye might have 
peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation : but be of 
good cheer ; I have overcome the world." John xvi. 33. 
" Let not your heart be troubled. I go to prepare a place 
for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will 
come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, 
there ye may be also." John xiv. 1 — 3. " Ye now have 
sorrow ; but I will see you again, and your heart shall 
rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." John 
xvi. 22. He exhorts them continually to expect his 
return; Luke xii. 40; and even condescends to mention 
the very terms in which he will, at that time, salute every 
waiting believer. 

The j)rayers of Christ, as well as his exhortations and 
promises, tend to jiroduce and support the most exalted 
liope in the souls of believers. He has graciously inter- 
ceded for them ; he still continues to make intercession ; 
and his prayer is always prevalent. JMark a few sentences 
of that memoraljle prayer Avhich he once offered up fur all 
his followers, and which forms the seventeenth chapter of 
St. John's gospel : " O Father, I pray not for the world, 
but for them which thou hast given me. Holy Father, 
keep through thine own name those whom thou hast 
given me ; and sanctify them through thy truth. Neither 
pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall 
believe on me through their word ; that they may all be 
one, even as Ave are one. Father, I Avill that they whom 
thou hast given me be with me where I am ; that they 
may behold ray glory." 

A lively hope, founded upon these prayers and declara- 

VoL. V. X 



458 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

tions of the blessed Jesus, enabled the primitive Chris- 
tians to triumph over every affliction. In the midst of the 
most terrible persecutions, they could congratulate one an- 
other on their common blessedness, and say, " Our life is 
hid with Christ in God ; " and " vrhen Christ, who is our 
life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in 
glory." Col. iii. 3, 4. For " he shall" yet " come to be glo- 
rified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that 
believe." 2 Thess. i. 10. 

The apostles, agreeably to the example of their divine 
Master, were unanimous in publishing this glorious hope ; 
and St. Paul very frequently insists upon it as a most im- 
portant duty. " Let us," saith he, " who are of the day, be 
sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love ; and 
for an helmet, the hope of salvation." 1 Thess. v. 8. " I 
beseech you, brethren, present your bodies a living sacri- 
fice unto God, rejoicing in hope." Romans xii. 1, 12. 
" Rejoice in the Lord alway ; and again I say, rejoice." 
Philip, iv. 4. This evangelical hope will ever be experi- 
enced as a never-failing source of consolation and thankful- 
ness; and hence wherever the hope of the gospel is 
preached, there believers continue to be filled with 
unspeakable joy. Acts xiii. 52. How truly happy would 
Christians be, were such an hope to flourish among them ! 
Far from disputing any longer for the trifles of time and 
sense, they would joyfully renounce them all, in expecta- 
tion of an eternal inheritance ; and instead of running to 
the frivolous amusements of the world for a momentary 
recreation, every passing day would appear too short for 
the exhilarating duties of praise and thanksgiving. 

It is asserted by many, that this divine hope is usually 
insisted upon by every minister. That preachers, in general, 
are accustomed to exhort their hearers, in a cold and lan- 
guid manner, to hope in the divine mercy, will readily be 
granted ; but that such do not publish the real, evangeli- 
cal hope of Christians may be easily proved beyond the 
possibility of a doubt. We have seen, in the preceding 
sections, that the minister of the present day is unac- 
quainted with this hope ; that he is even without any just 
ideas of that true repentance and that living faith from 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 459 

which alone this hope can flow ; and hence it is impossi- 
ble for him, in the nature of things, to publish it in the 
church of God. In vain has Christ himself declared, that 
the broad way will conduct multitudes to destruction ; and 
that '•' except a man be born again, he cannot enter into 
the kingdom of God ; " John iii. 5 ; in spite of these 
solemn declarations, the worldly pastor still imagines that 
this very way will conduct him to hfe, and that he shall 
be counted among the inhabitants of that kingdom Avith- 
out scriptural regeneration. He supposes, at least, that he 
is sufficiently sanctified, though his righteousness exceeds 
not that of the pharisees, nor his devotion that of the 
Laodicean church. Thus, entertaining a vain hope in his 
OAvn heart, and indulging a confidence which is repugnant 
to the concurrent testimonies of every sacred writer, 
he necessarily leads his hearers into the same dangerous 
delusions. 

As in order solidly to found our hopes upon a benefac- 
tor or a surety, it is necessary to have an acquaintance 
with the person who presents himself in either of these 
characters, so the lively hope of which we speak must 
flow from an experimental knowledge of fJod by Jesus 
Christ : " This is eternal life, that they may know thee the 
only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." 
John xvii. 3. But the children of this world, whether 
they be laymen or ecclesiastics, are (k'stitutc of this know- 
ledge. They know neither the Father, nor the Son ; and 
were it otherwise, the love of the world would not liavc 
dominion over them. 

This lively hope can never dwell in an unregenerate 
heart. The child that is not born cannot jjossibly rejoice 
in hope of possessing the heritage of his lather ; since hi' 
is ecjually unacquainted with his parent, and the patri- 
mony that is likely to be reserved for liini. It is there- 
fore absolutely necessary to be born of ( «od, Inlore we 
can exercise this exhilarating hope. Now, a man is thus 
born when he is regenerated by that Sj)irit of ado})tion 
which (rod hath promised to those Avho sincerely believe 
in Jesus Christ. But they who are conformahh' to the 
maxims of the world are not able to receive this vivifying 

V ^ 
A. ^ 



460 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

Spirit. " I will pray the Father," said Christ to his disci- 
ples, " and he shall give yoa another Comforter, that he 
may abide with you for ever ; even the Spirit of truth ; 
whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, 
neither knoweth him : but," being already regenerate in 
part, " ye know him ; for he dwelleth with you, and shall 
be in you," when you are fully born of the Spirit. John 
xiv. 16, 17. It is not till after the accomplishment of this 
promise has been experienced, that the following expres- 
sions can be perfectly understood : — " Know ye not that 
your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost ? " 1 Cor. 
vi. 19. " Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and 
peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through 
the power of the Holy Ghost." Romans xv. 13. 

Far from preaching this primitive hope, the worldly 
minister is alarmed at the bare mention of it. Let it 
here be observed again, that this celestial plant can flou- 
rish only in those hearts where the word of God, sharper 
than any two-edged sword, has cut down every unfruitful 
appearance of pharisaical hope. Now, when a true minis- 
ter is engaged in performing this preparatory work, cut- 
ting away the mortified members of the old man, and 
plucking from pride its unprofitable supports, the inexpe- 
rienced minister preposterously takes ofi'ence at his holy 
zeal, and censures this necessary severity, as leading souls 
into the horrors of despair. Slow of understanding in 
spiritual concerns, he comprehends not, that they who 
recline upon a broken reed must give up all the con- 
fidence they foolishly place in so slender a prop before 
they can efifectually choose the Rock of ages for their 
support. 

The true character of these false apostles is not gene- 
rally known. Covering their impiety with the cloak of 
religion, they are supposed by many to act on the part of 
Christ, and are frequently esteemed as pillars in the 
church. But there are occasions on which they unwit- 
tingly throw off the mask, and make an open discovery 
of their secret thoughts. Some few persons are found in 
the world who, refusing to attend card assemblies, rejoice 
to be present in those less polite assemblies which are 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAIL. 461 

formed for the purpose of prayer. Here it is usual for 
consenting neighbours to take sweet counsel together, and 
wrestle with ardour for the hope of the gospel in words 
like these : " Gracious Father ! forgive the sins of thy 
returning children, and grant us an increase of spiritual 
strength. Sensible of our own unworthiness, assist us to 
place all our confidence in thine unbounded mercy, mani- 
fested through Jesus Christ. Increase our faith in the 
Son of thy love, and confirm our hope in thine unchange- 
able promises. thou divine Saviour ! descend this day 
into our hearts as thou didst once descend upon thy first 
disciples. Consecrate us thy living temples ; fill us with 
thy graces; and, duriiig the time of our earthly pilgrimage, 
vouchsafe to lead us with the right hand of thy power 
Let not thy Spirit of illumination and holiness, thy Spirit 
of consolation and joy, abandon us for a moment, as we 
pass through this valley of tears. May its potent opera- 
tions subdue in us the power of sin, and produce in our 
outward conversation the happy fruits of righteousness, 
peace, and joy. Permit us at this time to return to our 
houses with a consciousness of thy love, and an assurance 
of thy favour ; and grant that, after having been the 
temples of thy Spirit upon earth, we may one day be 
received into the temple of thine eternal glory in the 
heavens." 

A worldly minister, on a certain time, entering into an 
assembly of this kind, heard the prayer of these humble 
fceHevers ; and, as much surprised to see the ardour with 
which they offered tluir petitions, as to observe the time 
and place in which they Avere presented, withdrew from 
their society with as mucli indignation as a good pastor 
would retire from a company of ju<,fglers. But having; 
understood that one of his own parishioners was of the 
religious party, he took the earliest opportunity of testify- 
ing the utmost disa})pvobation of his conduct. "• What 
was it," said he, " that you was doing with those peoj)Ie 
the other day in such a place ? Conventicles of that kind 
are contrary to order, and unworthy of tolenition. Tho 
church is the only proper place for the performance of 
divine worship. Moreover, I heard you foolishly praying 



462 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

for I know not what consolation, light, and power of the 
Holy Spirit. Receiye in good part the advice I offer you : 
— Look upon inspirations and illuminations of this sort, 
as no other than the idle fancies of visionaries and enthu- 
siasts ; renounce the imaginary assurance with which you 
do but deceive yourself, and repose upon the hope which 
I have constantly preached to you, — a hope with which 
you and your neighbours may very well rest contented." 
Confounded with a discourse of this kind, a weak and 
inexperienced Christian might have been drawn aside 
from the narrow path of truth. But the person here 
alluded to, by citing Ephesians i. 17, 18, was enabled to 
prove, that the very same illumination and power which 
were treated so contemptuously by his opponent were, 
nevertheless, absolutely necessary as the groundwork of 
a solid hope. Nay, he pushed the matter still further, 
and asserted, that the prayer against which the zealous 
pastor had so angrily exclaimed, was used in exact con- 
formity to those very petitions which he himself was 
inconsistently heard to offer at the feast of pentecost, and 
on other solemn seasons. 

If this little relation faithfully describes the manner of 
thinking which is too common among the clergy of the 
day, is it not evident, that they are more disposed to 
ridicule, than to preach, the Christian hope ; and abun- 
dantly more earnest to obstruct than to further their parish- 
ioners in the pursuit of everlasting blessedness ? 

When the dawn of this glorious hope first began to 
glimmer ; when, at the descent of the mount of Olives, 
the whole company of the disciples began to praise God 
with a loud voice, strewing the way by which their Lord 
was to pass with garments and branches of trees, and 
crying out before him, " Hosanna to the Son of David ; 
blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; 
hosanna in the highest !" some of the pharisees who 
had mixed among the multitude rudely exclaimed, 
" Master, rebuke thy disciples." And when he had 
entered into the temple, " the chief priests and scribes," 
(those models by which the generality of ministers seem 
anxious to form themselves,) "seeing the wonderful things 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 463 

that he did, and the children crying Hosanna, were sore 
displeased, and said unto him, Hearest thou ^y\lat these 
say?" And Jesus answered them, " Yea; have ye never 
read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast 
perfected praise ? I tell you, that if these should hold 
their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." !M;itt. 
xxi. ; Luke xix. There still exists the same opposition 
betwixt those who cordially embrace the gospel and those 
who ungratefully reject it. As often as the former are 
perceived to give a loose to the transports of their grati- 
tude, rejoicing ia hope of the glory of God, the worldly 
minister, displeased to observe any thing that appears to 
reproach his own lukewarmness, is prepared to stifle the 
emotions of that joyful hope which he deems no better 
than the confidence of presumptuous fanatics. While 
the faithful minister, on observing such a scene, cries out, 
in imitation of the great apostle, " Now the God of hope 
fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may 
abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost." 

If penitents are not pointed to the blessedness of this 
hope, they will strive like Cain to stifle their remorse by 
passionately abandoning themselves to the business and 
enjoyments of the present world ; or, like the Israelites, 
who found not suflicient pleasure in religion to banish the 
recollection of J"';j;y]jt's vanities, they will indulge that 
spirit of trifling which the apostle thus describes : '" The 
people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play." 
1 Cor. X. 7- On the contrary, when the Christian is 
directed to the hope of his high calling, he finds it a 
source of unutterable consolation : and having discovered 
the treasure hidden in the gospel field, "for Joy thereof 
lie selleth his all," in order to purchase that field. He 
now renounces without jiain what before had hindered 
him in running the heavenly race; counting nothing d(!ar 
to liimself, that he may finish his course with joy, and 
ensure the crown of everlasting life. So powerfully were 
the first Christians supported by this gospel hojie, that 
they remained immoveable ami<l the sorest calamities 
of life, and suffered death itself with a courage that 
astonished the persecutors. But when they lost their 



464 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

confidence, like Demas, tkey began to indulge the fond 
hopes and foolish fears of the present world, becoming 
altogether weak as other men : and such are the generality 
of Christians at this day. The love of many is waxing 
cold, while the church of God is evidently falling into 
ruins ; and how shall we assist to rekindle that love, or 
repair that church, but by zealously proclaiming abroad 
the hope of the gospel ? 

THE TRUE MINISTER PREACHES CHRISTIAN CHARITY. 

If the evangelical pastor proclaims repentance, faith, and 
hope, it is with a view of leading sinners to that Christian 
charity which is justly esteemed the crown of every grace. 
In preaching repentance, he lays the axe tothe root of every 
corrupt tree. In publishing evangelical faith, he plants thq 
tree of life. When he proclaims the hope of the gospel, he 
causes that tree to put forth a beautiful blossom ; but when he 
preaches Christian charity, he calls forth the rich fruit from 
every vigorous branch. And while he is engaged in perform^ 
ing the various parts of this important work, he denounces 
the anathemas of the gospel against that repentance, faith, 
and hope which are superficial, unfruitful, and delusive. 

The minister of the day piques himself upon preaching 
morality ; which he is ordinarily accustomed to do in the 
manner of an heathen philosopher. Unacquainted with 
the importance and power of the doctrines of Christianity, 
he is ashamed to walk in the traces of St. Paul. If he is 
enabled to paint, with any degree of ability, the serpents 
of envy, the inquietudes of avarice, and the delights of 
charity, he imagines that he shall readily dispose his neigh- 
bours to love as brethren. He knows not that " the law 
of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus " is that alone which 
can make any man " free from the law of sin and death," 
by delivering him from that envy, that avarice, that am* 
bition, that indifference, and those worldly fears which are 
incompatible with evangelical charity. " What the law 
could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh," (that 
is, our degenerate nature, which has need of stronger mo- 
tives and more powerful supports than those which the law 
proposes,) "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sin- 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 405 

ftil flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh : that," bv 
the new motives and the divine assistance ofi"ered in the 
gospel, " the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in 
us, who," being regenerate, " walk not after the flesh, but 
after the Spirit." Rom. viii. 3, 4. 

The judicious pastor, observing the same connexion 
between the morals and doctrines of Christianity, as be- 
tween the root and fruit of a vigorous tree, is constrained 
incessantly to preach those important truths which natu- 
rally give rise to the three first-mentioned graces; and he is 
perfectly assured, that wherever these truths are permitted 
to take root, he shall shortly rejoice over the inestimable 
fruits of Christian charity. This mode of acting is equally 
conformable to reason and revelation. By publishing 
those doctrines upon which the necessity of repentance is 
founded, he exterminates pride and inordinate self-love, 
which are the greatest obstacles to charity. By preaching 
the doctrines of faith, he gives rise to that universal love 
which extends to God and man. Thus, when a sinner 
sincerely believes that "God is love;" 1 John iv. 16; 
when, penetrated with admiration and gratitude, he can 
say, with the apostle, " I live by the faith of the Son of 
God, who loved me, and gave himself for me ;" Gal. ii. 
20; at that moment, he necessarily feels a degree of 
afi'ection toward the creating Father and the redeeming 
iSoii, whom he longs to imitate, and whom he rejoices to 
obey. This love is as boundless as it is ardent, and 
reaches to the most unworthy of iiis fellow -creatures, 
enabling him, after the example of Christ, to sacrifice 
for his very enemies, not only outward comforts, but even 
life itself. Hence tlie Christian faith is said to w<jrk 
by love. Now if this lively persuasion of the uiispeak- 
able blessings- which (.rod hath already given us in Christ 
Jesus is suflicicnt to produce in the soul a high degree ol" 
scriptural charity, it is evident, that a well-grounded hope 
of greater blessings still to come must necessarily serve to 
quicken and increase this charity. And if wc are fully per- 
suaded, that our labours of love shall never be for^nitten ; 
that even a cup of cold water, imparted for the love of Christ, 
shall not go unrewarded ; how vast an influence may such a 

X o 



466 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

hope be expected to exert, in opening the heart to universal 
benevolence, and in producing all the fruits of evangelical 
love? 

Convmced, that to plead for charity, without insisting 
upon the doctrines by which it must be supported, would 
be building a house without laying a solid foundation, the 
true minister industriously labours to explain the nature, 
to exhibit the motives, and represent the effects, of this 
wondrous grace, in the clearest manner. To some, indeed, 
such discourses are vain ; but others among his hearers are 
found, who, ravished with the loveliness of this virtue, and 
constrained by those motives which the gospel proposes, 
betake themselves to the exercise of it, with as much ardour 
as the voluptuous run to their sensual entertainments. 

Darkness differs not more from light than the charity 
of the faithful minister differs from that of a scribe ill 
instructed in the mysteries of the kingdom. The love of 
the good pastor " rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in 
the truth ; " 1 Cor. xiii. 6 ; which frequently comes to 
humble human pride. On the contrary, the charity 
which every false apostle preaches is no more than the 
phantom of a virtue, consoling the heart in the midst 
of sin, rejoicing in a lie, and resting upon assurances alto- 
gether contrary to the word of God. To be charitable is, 
according to the notions of these men, to indulge a 
persuasion, that there is much to be abated of the threaten- 
ings contained in the gospel; and that St. Paul is far 
beside the truth when he declares, that " no unclean or 
covetous person hath any inheritance in the kingdom of 
Christ." Eph. v. 5. It is to believe, that the Holy Spirit 
was too severe, when it dictated to St. James, that " he 
who is a friend of the world, is the enemy of God," and 
violates his baptismal vow in as full a sense as adulterers 
violate the sacred vow of conjugal fidelity. James iv. 4. 
It is to insinuate, that Christ himself overpassed the 
bounds of reason, when he publicly cried out, " Whosoever 
shall say to his brother. Thou fool, shall be in dano-er of 
hell fire." Matt. v. 22. " Judge not," saith the Redeemer 
"that ye be not judged." Matt. vii. 1. But, according to 
the sentiments of these erring guides, to be divinely 



PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 4t!7 

charitable, is to conclude from this precept, that a man 
may even revoke the judgments of Christ himself: thus, 
under pretext of not judging those "vvho are e"vidently 
walking in the road to perdition, they indirectly give 
judgment against the Redeemer as bearing a false testi- 
mony. In errors like these it is that the ^vorld will needs 
have the greatest part of charity to consist. 

The true minister attacks this false grace as an enemy 
to the truth of the gospel, while he pleads for that Christ- 
like charity which may properly be called the sister of 
truth. He asserts the dignity and power of truth, 
holding it up to the veneration and love of those 
who would not wilfully offend the God of truth. 
Let us, continues he, " speaking the truth in love, 
grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even 
Christ;" Eph. iv. 15; and, having first "purified our 
souls in obeying the truth," let us '• love one another with a 
pure heart fervently." 1 Peter i. 22. Between these scrip- 
tural companions he will suffer no sejiaration to take 
place, and when they are treated by the injudicious as 
enthusiastic and heretical, he will dare to stand forth in 
defence of these two confederate virtues. 

Another opinion that generally prevails among the pro- 
fessors of Christianity is, that charity consists in giving 
alms to the poor ; and this opinion is earnestly contended 
for by many, although the pharisces, ^vh(» Avcrc regarded 
by our Lord as '' serpents and vipers," Matt, xxiii. .3.3, 
through their want of an unfeigned charity, were yet remark- 
able for their generosity in almsgiving. St. Paul mani- 
festly opposes this erroneous notion, where he declares, 
that it is possible for a man to " give all his goods to iced 
the poor," and yet be destitute of charity. 1 Cor. xiii. .'». 
The faithful pastor, it is true, maintains, that every chari- 
table person is constrained to assist the poor according to 
his ability : but he adds, that almsgiving is as uncertain 
a mark of charity, as a constant attendance upon (he 
sacramental table is an equivocal evidence of faith ; since 
it is as possible to relieve the poor through weakness or 
vanity, as to receive the holy comnmnion through timidity 
or custom. 



468 PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL. 

If the charity of worldly men is ever found to exceed 
this description, yet it will always be limited to the ne- 
cessities of the body. As they know not how far the im- 
mortal spirit is superior to the perishing body, which must 
soon be blended with the dust of a thousand carcases, it is 
no wonder that their chief concern is engrossed by the 
latter. The welfare of their own souls is attended to 
with a very small degree of solicitude ; and while this is 
the case, it cannot be imagined, that they should manifest 
any extraordinary degree of affection toward the souls of 
their neighbours. They behold without sorrow those 
deluded partisans who make war upon each other for the 
sake of their particular errors ; they can even gaze with- 
out pity upon those obdurate souls who are desperately 
plunging from one abyss of sin to another. How differ- 
ent were the feelings of David, when, like a true penitent, 
he not only wept for his own offences, but shed torrents 
of tears for those who transgressed the law of God ! Psalm 
cxix. 136. And how contrary was the character of St. Paul, 
who went through a kind of spiritual travail, till the de- 
generate were born again ! Gal. iv. 19. In like manner 
the primitive Christians exposed themselves to imminent 
dangers, that they might give proofs of the most exalted 
charity, by snatching souls from sin and death. And 
when they were not able to effect this by their external 
labours, they then wrestled in their closets, with secret 
prayers and tears for the conversion of the ungodly. 
Where there is no desire after the salvation of others, there 
Christian charity is unknown; since, while a man disregards 
the soul of his neighbour, all the interest he takes in his 
temporal affairs can manifest no more than the charity of 
a disciple of Epicurus, which is as far below the charity of 
Christ's disciples, as materialism is inferior to Christianity. 
In opposition to all the erroneous notions which too gene- 
rally prevail upon this important subject, the minister of the 
new testament teaches, that evangelical charity is the image 
of God, and that eternal and infinite charity is nothing less 
than God himself. One apostle declares, that "God is love;" 
and another assures us, that we are called to be made " par- 
takers of the divine nature;" 2Peteri.4; whence the sacrecj 



PORTRAIT OP ST. PAUL. 469 

preacher infers, that the " new creature " of which St. 
Paul makes mention, 2 Cor. v. 17, must necessarily con- 
sist in charity. When a Christian is filled with charity, 
he is then regenerate and born of (rod. Christ is then 
formed in his heart, the Holy Spirit rests upon him, and 
he is " filled with all the fulness of God." Ephesians iii. 
16, 19. He keeps the first commandment of the law, by 
making a full surrender of his heart to God, from a con- 
sciousness that he is in himself the sovereign good : but 
he chiefly loves him in the person of Christ, through 
whom the Father is pleased peculiarly to shine forth, as a 
God of love. In a secondary sense, he loves the works 
of God in all their wonderful variety, as they shadow forth 
his matchless perfections, and place them within the reach 
of mans understanding. And his esteem for these 
admirable productions is in proportion to the nearer or 
more distant relation in which they stand to that eternal 
wisdom which formed them all. Guided by this prin- 
ciple, he loves all mankind Avith an extraordinary degree 
of affection. The soul of man is peculiarly dear to him, 
because created in the image of God, and redeemed with 
the blood of his beloved Son ; Avhile, as tlic organized 
vehicle of the soul, he admires and loves the perishaljle 
])ody. As the souls of the poor and the rich are equally 
immortal, he is never meanly prejudiced in favour of the 
latter ; but, on the